People should be used to the idea that Pokemon Go makes people drive dangerously in some place. However, there was no real evidence to support the notion. Two professors from Purdue University have changed that; conducted a study that found strong evidence that the release of the popular AR game resulted in an increase in traffic accidents.
The study, which has yet to be peer reviewed, focused on accident reports in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. Essentially, the researchers found that the release of Pokemon Go on 6 July 2016 (in the US at least) coincided with a 47% increase in car crashes across the county. More importantly, this increase largely happened in areas where Pokestops appeared.
Activity around Pokestops was also balanced against player activity at Pokemon gyms. This is notable because players are able to interact with Pokestops while driving, but are required to stop for a much longer period to interact with a gym. As expected, the increase in car crashes around gyms wasn’t as high as in the areas surrounding a Pokestop. Indicating that players grew distracted when driving by the location.
For the most part, the study focused on the amount of monetary damage that occurred as a result of these accidents. An amount that was higher by 22% due to the launch of Pokemon Go. On a much bleaker note, the study also attributed two car related deaths to the game.
This study may have been conducted in a place that lack similarities with Malaysia (Tippecanoe county is more of a university town). However, Pokemon player activity is very much the same. People slow down near Pokestops in order to spin them and collect valuable Pokeballs and potions; potentially creating driving hazards.