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Pokémon Go and its effect on car accident rates

After its launch in July 2016, Pokémon Go became a gaming phenomenon in Missouri and across the US. However, it also led to many reports of players being injured and even killed due to an obsession with the game. A study by two professors at Purdue University has revealed some startling statistics that show what effect Pokémon Go has had on car accident rates in particular.

The study's authors analyzed nearly 12,000 crash reports in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, during the months preceding and following the launch of Pokémon Go. They found an increase in the number of accidents at intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop, which is a location that players must visit to obtain in-game items. Before the Pokéstops were developed, these intersections were marked by 26.5 percent fewer accidents.

The cause of most of these crashes was listed in the reports as "distracted driver," which, despite the limited data and problems with self-reported causes, is a significant fact. The data also tracked the number of daily active users of Pokémon Go, which peaked in July and gradually diminished by November, the study's cutoff month.

Extrapolating the data from the accidents in Tippecanoe County, the study's authors estimate that across the country, 134 crashes took place because of Pokémon Go. They further speculated that, nationwide, the first few months of the game's existence led to 145,000 crashes, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths.

When a driver that is distracted by a smartphone game causes a car accident, he or she will be held liable for the victim's injuries and vehicle damage. The victim can hire a lawyer to build up the case, and investigators may be brought in to reconstruct the accident, interview witnesses and gather important paperwork. An attorney can determine if the victim contributed at all to the crash and estimate the settlement afterward. Insurance companies can aggressively deny victims their settlements, which is why a lawyer is so necessary.

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