Study shows just how dangerous gaming and driving is

In the wake of Pokemon Go, gaming and driving has emerged as a serious threat on the roads.

Conversations about distracted driving tend to revolve around texting and driving and talking on a mobile device while behind the wheel. Undoubtedly, those two activities are extremely dangerous when one's attention should be entirely on safely operating a motor vehicle travelling at high speeds. However, what often gets overlooked is the role that apps, including mobile games, play in the overall distracted driving epidemic. While most people would likely agree that playing a mobile game while driving is extremely dangerous, a recent study shows that, at least in the case of Pokemon Go, many people do so anyways. As Ars Technica reports, that study suggests that nearly 150,000 accidents were linked to the popular mobile game within the first five months of its release.

Gaming and driving causes crashes

Pokemon Go was released in July 2016 and quickly became immensely popular. The game utilized user's smartphone cameras to create an augmented version of reality viewable through their smartphone screens. By visiting real life locations, users could collect Pokemon, restock on in-game supplies at so-called PokeStops, or battle other Pokemon at Gyms. Due to the augmented reality of the game, there was speculation that the game could be used by drivers who were overly eager to collect Pokemon faster.

Purdue University researchers analyzed 12,000 crash reports from the first 148 days after the game was released from Tippecanoe County, Indiana. They then cross-referenced the data from those reports with the locations of PokeStops. What they found was that intersections located within a 100-meter radius of a PokeStop saw a 26.5 percent increase in traffic accidents. In all, researchers attributed 134 of Tippecanoe County's 286 motor vehicle accidents at the time on drivers playing Pokemon Go.

While data from a single county can be difficult to apply to the entire country, the researchers did speculate that about 150,000 accidents nationwide may also have been caused by drivers distracted by the Pokemon Go game.

Beyond texting and driving

The study is a reminder that the distracted driving problem goes well beyond texting and driving or simply talking on a phone while driving. New Scientist points out that prior to 2011, traffic fatalities had been on a downward trend. Since 2011, however, they have surged dramatically upwards. While mobile phones were widely available before 2011, what has changed since then is the popularity of apps. In 2008, for example, there were only 800 apps available through Apple's App Store, which were downloaded 10 million times. By 2011, however, there were 500,000 apps available which had been downloaded 18 billion times.

Personal injury law

A motor vehicle accident is a traumatic experience, especially when it results in serious injury or the death of a loved one. While financial compensation can never entirely make up for that pain or loss, it can help victims on the road to recovery, including with helping cover medical expenses, physiotherapy, and lost income. A personal injury attorney can show accident victims what compensation they may be entitled to and how to go about making an effective claim.