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Pokémon Go Study: Game Is a Major Distraction for Drivers and Pedestrians

by John Gomez | Last Updated: September 21, 2016
Pokemon Go Study

Pokémon Go is a game that has taken the entire world by storm.  Millions of people continue to play it on a daily basis.  While the game is obviously fun, somewhat addictive for some players and requires some light exercise, it also involves danger.  Media outlets have published a high number of Pokémon Go stories in recent weeks.  These stories deal with serious problems such as people getting into car accidents and pedestrian accidents while playing this game.  Assaults and worse have occurred while people wandered around at night while trying to capture characters.  To this point, no one has apparently tried to quantify the danger that relates to playing Pokémon Go.  Some quantifiable data are now available.  Researchers recently published a Pokémon Go study.  This study attempts to measure how much risk is associated with this game.

About the Pokémon Go Study

A professor from San Diego State University and colleagues completed the study.  Those interested in reading the full abstract can find it here.  The researchers analyzed social media posts that related to Pokémon Go between the dates of July 10 and July 19.  Nintendo released Pokémon Go on July 10, so this period covers the first 10 days that the game was available.  The researchers found the following information:

  • 4,000 posts referring to driving while playing the game
  • 18 percent of Tweets (posts on Twitter) indicated that a person was playing the game and driving
  • 11 percent of Tweets showed that a passenger was playing and perhaps distracting the driver of a vehicle
  • 4 percent of posts indicated that a pedestrian was distracted by playing Pokémon Go

The researchers also found news reports of 14 different traffic accidents where Pokémon Go was at least a factor in the crash.

Pokémon Go Accidents

Several other problems had arisen with regards to this game prior to the publishing of this Pokémon Go study.  News outlets published several stories soon after the game hit the market.  Pokémon Go accidents continued to find their way into media reports even after the initial rush of coverage.  Eventually, someone in Canada filed a Pokemon Go class action lawsuit.  The more popular the game becomes, the more danger people seem to encounter.  While we have nothing against this game, we hope that the number of injuries trends downward soon.

Playing a video game while driving is clearly risky behavior.  Playing Pokémon Go while out walking around in public and near traffic is also dangerous conduct for several reasons.  The statistics are clear in that driving while distracted and walking while distracted raise the risk of accidents.  People who drive while distracted, for instance, and cause accidents can face legal liability for any harm that they cause.  As such, we hope that anyone who plays Pokémon Go does so safely and responsibly.  If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone who was distracted by Pokémon Go or anything else at the time, contact a San Diego personal injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.

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