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Study links Pokémon Go with distracted driving

Pokémon Go, the smartphone game that was launched in the summer of 2016, enjoyed a huge following but also led to many reports of injuries and accidents as players became distracted or oblivious to their surroundings. A study has shown that drivers are hit especially hard by the phenomenon, which is just one among many possible distractions. Though the results pertained to Tippecanoe County in Indiana, they could be equally relevant in Oklahoma.

The study\’s authors analyzed the county\’s nearly 12,000 accident reports made between the months preceding the launch of Pokémon Go and the months after it. They then compared the crash risk between intersections close to a Pokéstop and those far from one, concluding that the former saw a 26.5 percent increase in traffic accidents.

In the 148-day period following the game\’s launch, there were, across the county, 134 extra accidents in those intersections within 100 meters of a Pokéstop. This added up to $500,000 in vehicle damage, 31 additional injuries, and even two cases of fatalities. The game\’s developer, Niantic, has updated many of the features so that they don\’t function wherever they sense the player is in a fast-moving vehicle. Moreover, the game\’s popularity has waned, though distracted driving still poses a threat.

It\’s not just games that can be a distraction. Texting behind the wheel, talking on the phone, and even adjusting the stereo can all lead to a car accident. People who have been injured in such an accident caused by this type of negligence on the part of another driver might want to have a lawyer\’s assistance in obtaining compensation for medical bills and other losses.