More Headphone-Wearing Pedestrians Hit by Cars

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More Headphone-Wearing Pedestrians Hit by Cars

The iPod generation is finding itself in harm's way when it comes to listening to music while taking city strolls. As iPods and other personal music devices has proliferated, so have deaths and injuries in crashes.

Serious injuries to pedestrians listening to headphones have more than tripled in six years, according to new research from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. In many cases, the cars or trains are sounding horns that the pedestrians cannot hear, leading to fatalities in nearly three-quarters of cases, the university reports.

"Everybody is aware of the risk of cellphones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears," says lead author Richard Lichenstein, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The study was initiated after a teenager was killed crossing railroad tracks. The teen was noted to be wearing headphones and did not avoid the oncoming train despite its honking. "As a pediatric emergency physician and someone interested in safety and prevention I saw this as an opportunity to -- at minimum -- alert parents of teens and young adults of the potential risk of wearing headphones where moving vehicles are present," Lichenstein says.

Source: USA Today