According to a new academic paper eye-catchingly titled Death by Pokémon GO, last year's mega-hit that disappeared almost as quickly as it blew up, caused an alarming amount of damage due to the abundance of dinguses that played it while driving.
The 49-page piece was authored by Purdue University economists Mara Faccio and John McConnell, who based their conclusion off accident reports in Indiana's Tippecanoe County. Due to those reports Faccio and McConnell learned that in the 148 days following the game's July 2016 release, the county suffered estimated damages between $5.2 million and $25.5 million. That massive total came in addition to two people who died in car accidents.
The report also found that that 148-day period saw 286 more accidents within the county than the same time period the year before. Nearly half the accidents occurred at Pokéstops, despite developer Niantic doing their best to combat this by making the game unplayable at certain speeds. The researchers specifically checked out Tippecanoe County areas that were designated as Pokéstops and Gyms and found an abnormally high number of crashes, damages, and injuries near Pokéstops.
Faccio and McConnell estimated that similar amounts of damage in counties throughout the U.S. could have lead to vehicular crashes causing between $2 billion and $7.3 billion of destruction. Sounds close to an epidemic. If you're still playing it, A) Good for you for not going with a crowd and quitting just because the majority decided it's kind of dumb, and B) Heed the study's warning. We all know this is user error, not Pikachu & Co.'s fault.