Headphones contribute to pedestrian injuries: report

January 25, 2012

Baltimore – Headphone use with handheld devices such as MP3 players or cell phones may pose a safety risk to pedestrians who walk near moving vehicles, according to a study from the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.

Researchers reviewed 116 reports of death or injury to pedestrians wearing headphones and found that a majority of the victims were male and younger than 30; 55 percent of the cases involved crashes with trains; and 89 percent occurred in urban counties, according to the study abstract.

According to study authors, two contributors to the possible association between headphone use and pedestrian injury are distraction and sensory deprivation. The report found that in 29 percent of the cases, police or eyewitness reports specifically mentionined horns or sirens being sounded prior to the victim being hit.