As you walk through the streets of Chicago, everywhere you look fellow pedestrians all have on ear buds or head phones. This is especially true with joggers. These people may want to turn their music down next time they go for a jog or walk because according to University of Maryland researchers, use of iPods and other MP3 players make people much less aware of their environment, including oncoming traffic. This is particularly startling because almost everyone has a smart phone these days which have MP3 player capabilities. It’s as if people are deafly walking through the streets, unaware of all the impending dangers the city has to offer. The Chicago accident and injury firm Zneimer and Zneimer p.c. handle cases related to pedestrian injuries, whether caused by car, truck, or slip and fall. Please contact their office with any questions.
The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Richard Lichenstein found that people wearing headphones are at a higher risk of getting hit, injured, or even dying due to an accident. He claims that of these injuries, 70 percent proved to be fatal, and more than 50 percent of the victims were hit by trains. While these numbers seem a bit high, they are very believable. Chicago drivers can be a bit reckless and are always in a hurry. This is especially true with cab drivers. As I commute to work daily, I almost always usually see an accident almost happen, such as a biker getting hit by a car because neither was paying attention. The researchers report that between 2004 and 2005, there were 16 cases noted. However, that number rose to 47 between 2010 and 2011, nearly tripling. They found that the most common type of accident, at 55%, was being hit by a train. I would have guessed that the most common type would be being hit by a car. This is very shocking. The study also found that 75% of bystanders had actually seen the victim wearing headphones prior to the accident. Clearly these headphones are masking any sirens and outside noises.
A similar study was done in New Zealand in 1995 with 200 children. The study found that children with natural hearing problems were more likely to be hit by a car. It’s no surprise that Dr. Lichensteins study found similar results considering people are basically obstructing their own hearing with music. These people need to become more aware of their surroundings considering the city is full of many hidden dangers. Not only are they more likely to get hit by a car or train, but they may be easier pray for muggers or robbers. Bottom line, if you are venturing out into the world with your headphones on, please be aware of your surroundings. If you have been involved in a accident/injury, please contact injury attorneys Zneimer and Zneimer p.c. for a free personal injury consultation.