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  (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
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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