Saturday, May 12, 2012

When pedestrians are wearing headphones

It seems hardly a day goes by if we don’t hear about another vehicle accident involving pedestrians. It’s often been thought that the increase in these types of accidents might partly be explained by the fact that more and more pedestrians are wearing headphones while on the roads. So pedestrians can’t hear the traffic around them,

Research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore (the research was recently published online in the journal Injury Prevention) suggests that serious injuries to pedestrians listening to headphones have more than tripled in six years. In many cases, the cars or trains are sounding horns that the pedestrians cannot hear, leading to fatalities in nearly three-quarters of cases.

Researchers reviewed 116 accident cases from 2004 to 2011 in which injured pedestrians were documented to be using headphones. 70% of the 116 accidents resulted in death to the pedestrian. More than two-thirds of victims were male (68%) and under the age of 30 (67%).

More than half of the moving vehicles involved in the accidents were trains (55%), and nearly a third (29%) of the vehicles reported sounding some type of warning horn prior to the crash. The increased incidence of accidents over the years closely corresponds to documented rising popularity of auditory technologies with headphones.

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