Injuries more likely for walkers wearing headphones

WASHINGTON — Listening to your iPod or MP3 player while walking could put you at a higher accident risk, a new study shows.

New research from the University of Maryland shows that serious injuries to pedestrians listening to headphones have more than tripled in the last six years.

“When you are listening to your headphones, your brain is separating out what it should be doing because it is basically being occupied by listening to music,” said researcher, Dr. Richard Lichenstein with the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

By studying published reports of pedestrian accidents from 2004 to 2011, researchers at the university documented 116 reports of death or injury to pedestrians wearing headphones, the study says. The majority of the victims were men under the age of 30.

In many instances, the study found, drivers honked in warning before the crash.

Study authors say more research is needed, but say the use of headphones with handheld devices may post a safety risk to pedestrians.

“Sometimes people become so enamored of latest technology, and they’re putting the risks outside, almost to a second priority,” said Lichenstein, in an interview with WTOP.

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WTOP’s Adam Tuss contributed to this report. Follow Adam and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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