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These accidents were due to both being distracted by their devices and blocking the sounds of the warning systems with their headphones

The fact that wearing headphones while navigating a city on foot can be dangerous seems pretty obvious, but the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore collaborated on a study to show exactly how dangerous the activity can be.

Richard Lichenstein, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of pediatric emergency medicine research at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said that injuries to pedestrians who are wearing headphones have tripled in six years.

"Everybody is aware of the risk of cell phones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears," said Lichenstein. "Unfortunately, as we make more and more enticing devices, the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds increases."

Lichenstein and his team conducted the study by taking cases where headphones were involved in serious pedestrian injuries/fatalities from car or train crashes from 2004-2011 reports from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Westlaw Campus Research databases and Google News Archives. Lichenstein's team reviewed a total of 116 cases during that time period.

According to the study's results, 68 percent of pedestrians injured or killed due to wearing headphones were male, and 67 percent were under the age of 30. About 55 percent of the vehicles involved in the headphone-related accidents were trains, and 29 percent of the vehicles involved used a horn or other type of audible warning system to let the pedestrians know they were there. In addition, nearly three-quarters of the headphone-related injuries were fatal.

Lichenstein said these accidents were due to both being distracted by their devices and blocking the sounds of the warning systems with their headphones, which Lichenstein called sensory deprivation.

This study was published in Injury Prevention.

Source: University of Maryland

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RE: Link to article
By Just Tom on 1/19/2012 10:39:26 AM , Rating: 2
From the article
These accidents were due to both being distracted by their devices and blocking the sounds of the warning systems with their headphones
Did you actually read the study.

From the study
Also, since this is a retrospective case series, neither causation nor correlation can be established between headphone use and pedestrian risk. Such risk can be determined only in virtual environments or large-scale pedestrian observational studies. However, we believe our grading system shows strong circumstantial evidence that headphones may have played a role in most injuries and deaths in the case series.

The authors never state headphone use and increased pedestrian accidents. Nor do they state that pedestrian accidents have tripled in the last 6 years. They do not even state there is a correlation between headphone use and pedestrian accidents. For good reason, pedestrian accidents have fallen during that time frame. In fact a little research shows pedestrian fatalities have fallen significantly since 2004AND pedestrian accidents have also fallen during the same time period. Source ( )

As far as pedestrian fatalities tripling because of headphone use what the study actually said is the number of accidents with reported headphone use has tripled. Those are two enormously different things. The first says more pedestrians are being injured, the second says the articles and data the researchers used had certain keywords - DAP, MP3, earbud, etc - 3 times more often in 2010.

And as far as what my point is: I understand that many people do not have the statistical background or the inclination to competently understand studies such as this one but someone writing for Dailytech should. The study was only 4 pages and it was relatively easy to understand. The misstatements of the finding of this study are sloppy reporting.

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