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Maryland Study Finds Pedestrian Accidents Involving Headphones Tripled Over 6 Years

By Alpert Schreyer on January 26, 2012

A study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center has discovered that accidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones across the United States have tripled over the span of the last six years. The study found that the accidents were mainly caused by two factors: pedestrians being distracted by their devices and the sounds of warning systems being blocked out by the noise coming from their headphones.

The study examined records of pedestrian accidents involving trains and cars from 2004 to 2011 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Westlaw Campus Research, and Google News Archives. After gathering results, the study found that the use of headphones has grown to be a much greater danger for pedestrians in recent years. Among the injury accidents found, 29 percent involved the pedestrian not hearing some form of audible warning system, such as a horn used by the vehicle involved, and almost 75% resulted in fatalities.

Additionally, a startling 55% of the pedestrian accidents found in the study involved a train, demonstrating the extremely distracting and noise-blocking nature of headphones. The use of headphones can result in two problems for pedestrians. The first is known as inattentional blindness, where a person’s brain is too busy operating or listening to what is coming from the headphones to recognize the potential dangers around him or her. Second is environmental isolation, meaning that the noise of the headphones overpowers all other noises surrounding the pedestrian. As such, both of these can combine to essentially blind and deafen a pedestrian, leaving them unable to perceive potential train and auto accidents.

Despite an increase in headphone-related pedestrian accidents, many are caused every year by the negligence of those other than the pedestrian, resulting in devastating injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, the Maryland pedestrian accident lawyers at Alpert Schreyer can help you receive compensation. For a free and confidential consultation on your case, call our offices at (844) 632-7274.

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