Pokémon GO may seem like a harmless game, but researchers found it could be dangerous for those who drive or walk while playing. A study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine is shedding light on some of the game’s potential risks. Researchers used Twitter and Google News to determine how many accidents have occurred due to the game and how many users might be playing while driving or walking.

Identifying the Incidence of Pokémon GO-Related Accidents

The study period was from July 10 to July 19 (July 20 for news reports), about a week after the game was released and when user engagement was high. There were two legs of the study – researchers looked at Twitter posts to estimate how many people were playing while walking or driving, and they looked at Google News to identify accidents related to the game.

When looking for Twitter posts, researchers used keywords such as “Pokémon” “driving” and “car” to identify relevant tweets. The study used a random selection of 4,000 tweets and categorized them into five groups:

  • Related to driving while playing Pokémon GO
  • Related to riding as a passenger while playing Pokémon GO
  • Related to a pedestrian playing Pokémon GO
  • Safety warnings about playing Pokémon GO
  • Uncategorized or inapplicable to study

Of the 4,000 tweets, 33 percent mentioned one of the first three categories. Eighteen percent mentioned the player was driving, 11 percent mentioned the player was a passenger in a car, and four percent mentioned a person walking while playing Pokémon GO. Only 13 percent of the entire set of tweets mentioned a safety message or warning.

The researchers then estimated that based on the sample size and their results, approximately 113,993 incidences occurred in that 10-day period.

Next, the study looked at confirmed accident cases identified through news reports. Using the Google News alert for relevant keywords, the researchers identified 321 news stories covering 14 unique accidents.

The study concluded that both actual reports of accidents and high accident risk or near-misses are significantly high in relation to game use. Additionally, the Twitter data reveals a large number of players are consciously playing while walking or driving without a regard for safety.

What do I do if a driver who I think was playing Pokémon GO hits me?

The Montero Law Center can help you determine who may be liable and at fault in your car or pedestrian accident case. If you think the other driver may have been distracted by playing Pokémon GO or other mobile device use, the Montero Law Center can use our resources and experience to conduct a thorough investigation. Once we have proof of negligence, we can help you calculate your current and long-term damages and file a claim.

Contact the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an auto accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.