Pedestrians wearing headphones at risk

Pedestrians wearing headphones at risk

A study by two University of Maryland specialty schools found that people walking along streets while wearing headphones are more likely to be injured because they can’t hear what’s going on around them.

The recently published report from the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that incidents of pedestrians being involved in car accidents or getting hit by trains have increased more than threefold in the past six years.

One of the authors of the study said that while the public has put so much emphasis on teens talking or texting on cellphones while driving, the risk that comes with listening to music through headphones is great.

For the report, researchers studied 116 cases over a seven-year span starting in 2004 in which trains or other vehicles hit pedestrians. The pedestrians were killed in 70 percent of the accidents, and the majority of those killed were males younger than 30 years old.

The university report said that the increase of such accidents directly correlates to the rising number of pedestrians who use headphones to listen to music through their iPods and other devices.

The University of Maryland began the study following the death of a teenager who was killed while walking across railroad tracks. The engineer sounded the train’s horn but the teenager could not hear the warning signal.

Authors of the report said they want parents of teenagers and young people who wear headphones to take note of the dangers. But just because a teen was a wearing a headphone does not excuse a driver if they are the ones at fault. Honking a horn does not absolve a driver of responsibility.

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