Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Listen Up People! Avoid fatal distractions while walking…


      Good Day Humboldt County!

I wrote a column recently addressing the dangers of MP3 players – Plugged In: What makes people think they won’t go deaf? (see list of my columns on left side of the page) where I looked at the damage headphones/earbuds present to a person’s hearing if overused.

I ran across a national study yesterday that took a look at the dangers associated with pedestrian use of headphones. Losing your hearing is one thing, but your life is a lot more precious. The following study is sobering, but also instructive. Do you know someone that fits the description observed in this study? You might want to share this study with them.

Dr. Richard Lichenstein, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Maryland Hospital for Children in Baltimore cited 116 cases in 2010 of pedestrian’s wearing headphones who were killed by vehicles and trains.

The results of the study were published Tuesday in the journal Injury Prevention.

  • The number of deaths of people wearing headphones increased from 16 in 2004-2005 to 47 in 2010-2011.
  • The majority were male (68 percent) and 67 percent were under the age of 30.
  • The majority of vehicles involved were trains (55 percent).
  • 89 percent of cases occurred in urban counties.

Lichenstein and three researchers delved into the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Google News Archives and Westlaw Campus Research Database from Jan. 1, 2004 to June 1, 2011.

As It Stands, the findings were no surprise to me: Wearing headphones while walking on roads can be a fatal distraction. Duh….

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