A lot of people love wearing headphones when they walk or go for a jog. It helps them pass the time. It’s a way to listen to music, podcasts or books without disturbing anyone else; gone are the days of having a boombox on your shoulder.
However, as enjoyable as this can be, some studies have shown that it’s also dangerous. More and more often, pedestrians are getting into accidents while they have these headphone in.
That’s not to say that the pedestrians are always at fault. It’s just that the headphones can be a distraction. Everyone else at the crosswalk may hear a car revving up to beat the yellow light, and they may all hesitate for a second when they realize the car is going to run the red light, but the person wearing headphones could obliviously walk out into the crosswalk.
The stats are a bit alarming. From 2006 to 2012—a relatively short span of time—the amount of people who were killed or at least seriously injured in pedestrian accidents increased three times. In 2004 to 2005, there were only 14 reported cases that fit this model. From 2010 to 2011, that number was 47. It’s a huge spike, and many people think it happened due to the rise in popularity of headphones and mp3 players.
Additionally, many people also have the ability to listen to music on their phones, with the same headphones, so they don’t even need mp3 players to be just as distracted.
As noted, pedestrians are not always at fault, even when distracted, and those who suffer serious injuries in California have to know what legal rights they have.
Source: Time, “Listen Up: Accidents Rising Among Pedestrians Wearing Headphones,” Samantha Grossman, accessed Sep. 24, 2015