New studies suggest that it may be prudent for people who walk around outside, or drive while wearing headphones to stop this dangerous practice. This comes as a result of the number of accidents occurring involving pedestrians wearing headphones. In fact, the study shows that the number of accidents has actually tripled in the past few years.
Many different sources were combed by researcher to come up with the statistics of US accidents involving people wearing headphones. These studies were looked at through a period of 7 years beginning in 2004-2011. The areas looked at were the US Consumer Safety Product Commission, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, Google News archives and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. However, the cases in which drivers or pedestrians were making use of mobile phones were not included in the study.
Over the past several years cases have soared, going from only 16 between the years of 2004 to 2005 to a whopping 47 between 2010 and 2011. The average age for the victims involved in these statistics was about 21 with nearly 68% being male. Most of the people, at least 67% of the people involved were reported to be below the age of 30. 55% of these were reported to have been hit by trains and about 70% of those wound up resulting in fatalities.
In about 74% of the reported situations, eyewitnesses or law enforcement officers stated that the victims were wearing headphones with the accidents occurred. 29% of the cases seemed to have involved horns blowing or sirens sounding just before the incident. The research indicates two very likely factors that may have contributed to some of these incidents. The first factor is distraction as a result of the sound coming through the headphones and the second is sensory deprivation. Electronic gadgets are being blamed more and more for what is known as intentional blindness because they seem to take focus on things which are important such as safety.
Many experts believe that being able to hear what is going on around you may be even more important than being able to see surroundings. However, this study is not conclusive at this time and much more studies will be conducted over the next several years. There are also other factors such as intoxication and so forth that could play a role in some of the accidents associated with this study.
Much more comprehensive studies will need to be performed in order to know for sure what the results of these preliminary findings are. However, there is no doubt that there is definitely some truth to the matter and that people should be extra cautious when being out in public wearing headphones. Some experts suggest using only one side and leaving the other ear open to hear things that are happening around you. Over the next decade or so there may be additional laws regarding headphone use in public for both pedestrians and drivers.