Residents of West Virginia should know that the smartphone-based game, Pokémon Go, could be just as much of a factor in distracted driving as texting, talking on the phone and other actions. Although the game’s popularity has been waning, millions of people still play it, and reports still come in of players injuring themselves or others because of it.
A study from Purdue University has analyzed crash data in Tippecanoe County in Indiana, spanning the months before the game’s July 2016 launch and the ones following it. The authors marked the location of the nearly 12,000 accidents reported in that time and found that after the launch, there was a 26.5 percent increase in traffic accidents at intersections that are within 100 meters of a Pokéstop. Pokéstops are places that players must go in order to receive in-game items.
In the first five months of the game’s existence, 134 more accidents occurred across the county at these Pokéstops than in the previous months. This amounted to 31 additional injuries and two additional deaths. The totals suggest that more than 145,000 crashes, 29,000 injuries and 250 deaths were caused by Pokémon Go across the nation. These figures do not include the accidents that took place away from Pokéstops, where gamers went out searching for wild Pokémon.
Distracted driving is a major cause of car crashes. When a victim finds out that the other driver was playing with his or her smartphone at the time of the accident, he or she can consult with an attorney about filing an injury claim. A lawyer can negotiate with the other party’s insurance company for a settlement that covers vehicle damage repairs, medical treatments and wages lost during the physical recovery. The lawyer may even hire investigators to recreate the accident if more proof of negligence is required.