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Pokémon Go: distracting drivers since 2016

Pokémon Go, the smartphone-based game that caused a sensation back in 2016, was a factor in many accident cases across New York and the rest of the U.S., as players became so distracted by the game that they injured themselves and others. Though the game has been waning in popularity, the first few months of its existence remain a testimony to the dangers of distracted driving.

A recent study has analyzed crash data in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, focusing on the months leading up to and following the July 2016 launch of Pokémon Go. Two professors from Purdue University wrote the study and shared it online, although it has yet to be peer-reviewed, and their conclusions can be startling. They found that car accident rates increased by 26.5 percent in those intersections where a Pokéstop developed within a 100-meter radius. Many of the accident reports, culled out of nearly 12,000, attributed the cause to a distracted driver.

Pokéstops are locations where players must go to obtain in-game items, so they're an integral part of the game. Across the county, an estimated 134 accidents, 31 injuries, and two deaths occurred near these locations. Authors speculate that nationwide, the total would come to about 145,000 additional crashes, 29,000 injuries, and 250 deaths caused by Pokémon Go in the five months following its launch.

Drivers can be distracted not just by games but also by texting, talking on the phone, eating, and other activities. When such negligence leads to a motor vehicle accident, the victim will want to file an injury claim to be compensated for vehicle damage and any medical bills. A lawyer may hire investigators to gather proof of the other driver's negligence before negotiating for an informal settlement. If the insurance company denies payment or proposes one that is too low, the victim may consider litigation.

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