Effect of Pokémon GO on incidence of fatal traffic injuries: a population-based quasi-experimental study using the national traffic collisions database in Japan

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Abstract

Pokémon GO (Niantic Labs, released on 22 July 2016 in Japan) is an augmented reality game that gained huge popularity worldwide. Despite concern about Pokémon GO–related traffic collisions, the effect of playing Pokémon GO on the incidence of traffic injuries remains unknown. We performed a population-based quasi-experimental study using national data from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis, Japan. The outcome was incidence of traffic injuries. Of 127 082 000 people in Japan, 886 fatal traffic injuries were observed between 1 June and 31 August in 2016. Regression discontinuity analysis showed a non-significant change in incidence of fatal traffic injuries after the Pokémon GO release (0.017 deaths per million, 95%CI −0.036 to 0.071). This finding was similar to that obtained from a difference-in-differences analysis. Effect of Pokémon GO on fatal traffic injuries may be negligible.

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