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.
- economic analysis
- process/impact evaluation
- time series
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Contributors SO developed the measurement tool for the data from the ITARDA website, wrote the statistical analyses plan, cleaned and analysed the data, and drafted and revised the paper. NM and YS developed the data measurement tool and revised the draft paper. YO and HY analysed the data and revised the draft paper.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Institutional Review Board of the University of Tokyo.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.