Monday, May 7, 2012

Study Attributes 116 Pedestrian Cases of Injury or Death to Headphone Use

A study on pedestrian injuries and fatalities conducted by the University of Maryland reveals a powerful correlation between pedestrian accidents and headphone use.  The data of incidents were culled from  US Consumer Products Safety Commission, news articles and archived Google news stories between 2004 and 2011.
Researchers found 116 instances of pedestrians either dying or being injured because they were wearing headphones. Eight-one of these accidents were ultimately fatal to the pedestrian involved.
A large majority of accident victims were men under the age of 30, while nearly all the accidents occurred in urban areas. Slightly more than half of the accidents (55%) involved trains. In some cases, the train even blew its horn, but the pedestrian did not hear them.
Moreover, researchers found that the number of pedestrian injuries tripled over the course of their study. The rise in the number of pedestrian accidents was directly attributable to headphone use. These findings are especially important in San Francisco, where there is a high number of pedestrian traffic at tourist venues. Combine that with the high number of red-light violations, and it is no wonder that walking in San Francisco can be hazardous.

COMMENT: According to a 2011 report by tourism advocacy group Transportation For America, pedestrians make up just over half (51.9%) of all traffic related deaths in San Francisco, which is four times the national average. The vast majority of pedestrian accidents are still caused by drivers not paying attention.

For the benefit of our readers who may have missed my February 22 posting, please see below:

Canada: Tourist Killed by Train While Wearing Audio Headphones

A Chilean tourist, 27, has become the latest in a recent string of people struck and killed by trains while wearing headphones. The RCMP reported that the death occurred yesterday (February 21) after being hit by a Canadian Pacific Railway train in Banff.

COMMENT: I have been cautioning travelers for months, particularly when abroad and in areas where they may be at risk of being harmed to killed when wearing audio headphones. Texting is also a dangerous activity in this regard.

Wearing headphones and texting also diminishes the ability of wearers to protect themselves from being victimized by criminals.

Just last week, two other people died after being hit by trains, one near Leduc and the other in Ontario and it's believed they may have been distracted by texting and listening to music on headphones.

The train crew did everything possible to try and stop the train from hitting the man by sounding off the bells and whistles and flashing their lights.