Although there's no question that driving while searching for virtual Squirtles is dangerous, a new study from researchers at Purdue University found that people playing Pokémon Go while behind the wheel may have resulted in more than 100,000 traffic accidents across the country.
The study, disturbingly titled Death by Pokémon Go, is based on traffic accident data from Tippecanoe County, Indiana between March 1, 2015, and November 30, 2016. What it found is that traffic accidents increased across the entire county in that period and the likelihood of an accident occurring within 100 meters of a Pokéstop was 26.5 percent higher. Additionally, they discovered that the traffic reports showed a disproportionate increase in "distracted driver" as the cause of accidents near Pokéstops.
Based on the data, the researchers went on to extrapolate that nearly $500,000 in additional damage, 31 additional injuries, and two additional deaths within Tippecanoe County can be attributed to the game. When scaled nationally, the study's authors speculate that 145,632 crashes across the country could be linked to people playing the game, as well as an increase of 29,370 injuries and 256 deaths. From an economic perspective, they estimate the cost associated with people playing while driving to be somewhere between $2 billion and $7.3 billion within the 148 days of its introduction. Yikes.