Purdue study looks at popular game and connection to car accidents

Pokemon Go is now the most popular mobile game in U.S. history, according to new data from SurveyMonkey. (AP file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A Purdue University study examined a popular game and its connection to car accidents.

The study is titled: “Death by Pokemon Go.” Researchers say Pokémon Go may have led to more car accidents and possibly two deaths in Tippecanoe County. Researchers have extrapolated the figures from the police records of Tippecanoe County and applied them to the entire country.

They estimate $7.3 billion in damage was caused by the game and from people being distracted while driving. Those numbers are jarring. 24-Hour News 8’d Joe Melillo looked into the study to find out how they came up with that amount.

Researcher Mara Faccio says the initial idea for the study came when a friend told her they were playing Pokémon Go while driving to work. The study looks at the relationship between the Pokestop and gym locations and the accident rates near those areas.

The game was first released in July 2016, and until Nov. 2016 you could drive and play the game at the same time, that’s not allowed now.

Faccio and her colleague used detailed police accident reports for Tippecanoe County and the applied them at the nationwide level. That’s how they came up with $7.3 billion in total nationwide damage.

“We documented the paper statistics that are countywide. We do make some extrapolation at the national level for the benefit of the reader because the reader who is not familiar with the county, which I think there might be a few,” said Faccio. “For them it is difficult to tell whether the numbers we are documenting are large numbers or small numbers.”

Faccio also says they were concerned that the title may be misleading since only two deaths were attributed to accidents in Tippecanoe County during the time period of the stud. They also weren’t necessarily connected to the game.

What 24-Hour News 8 found out from talking to Faccio is this paper is only a first draft and they expect a more updated and detailed version to come out later. They only finished writing it about ten days ago. They will submit it to a scientific journal for review.