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Injuries while walking with headphones tripled, study finds
January 16th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Injuries while walking with headphones tripled, study finds

Crossing a busy street while blasting music into your headphones doesn’t exactly enhance your awareness.

The number of serious injuries and deaths occurring to pedestrians who were walking with headphones has tripled in seven years in the United States, according to a report published in Injury Prevention.

Dr. Richard Lichenstein and co-authors from the University of Maryland School of Medicine reported 116 crashes involving pedestrians who were wearing headphones between 2004 and 2011.  Eighty-one of them resulted in deaths.  It started with 16 cases between 2004 and 2005 and rose to 47 by 2010 and 2011.

Half of the victims were struck by trains; the other half by cars, buses, trucks, tractor trailers or bicycles.  Using headphones while walking isn’t really a new phenomenon – considering people used to walk around with portable audio cassette players and compact disc players.

The difference is that our electronic gadgets are more prevalent and much more portable than the age of the Walkman, said Lichenstein, director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Research at the University of Maryland.  A Pew study found that about 75% of teens reported using an MP3 player in 2008.

“You’d be hard-pressed not to look out the window and see people walking around with headphones,” he said.  “People probably had it with growing up - not to the extent that we see now.”

They are likely to have inattentional blindness (distraction) and sensory deprivation, where people can't hear warning sounds.  On Friday, a pedestrian was struck by a train as he crossed the streetcar tracks while wearing headphones, according to a German newspaper.  Although the train sounded the warning horns, the pedestrian was not able to hear the warning horn and was later hospitalized.

Lichenstein and the group gathered the injury and death data from National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Google News archives and Westlaw Campus Research databases. They used a grading system to assess whether the evidence that the victim had been wearing headphones at the time of the incident was strong.

The median age of the victims was 21 years old and the majority (68%) were male.

The cases the study authors counted is “the tip of the iceberg,” Lichenstein said as injuries are likely to go unreported.

The idea for this study came because Lichenstein, who chairs the state’s child fatality review team, had heard of several incidents in Baltimore of serious injuries and even deaths of people wearing headphones.

“We acknowledge that there are limitations to the study,” he said.  “We did the best we can, given the fact that there’s no way to do an observational study of this type.”

The authors wrote: “Since this is a retrospective case series, neither causation nor correlation can be established between headphone use and pedestrian risk.”  It’s also impossible to decipher whether the reason why some people were struck by trains and cars were due to suicidal intentions, substance abuse, mental illness rather than distraction caused by headphone use.

But the injuries and deaths of distracted pedestrians have caught the attention of lawmakers around the country.  One Chicago lawmaker proposed banning all cell phone use for cyclists.  A New York bill was proposed last year that would’ve banned cell phone or MP3 usage while crossing the street, according to the New York Times.

That’s not the “most efficient or wisest regulation we should have,” said Lichenstein. “We want people to be thoughtful and conscious.  Everyone loves their tunes and enjoying themselves. When they’re walking, talking or listening to music, at least be cognizant of the fact it’s a big world out there.  You may not be paying attention and people may not be paying attention to you.”


soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. John

    When I am out biking I see bicyclists with head phones on.

    January 16, 2012 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • zephyr12345

      I have seen too many driving cars while earphone deaf, stupid act.....

      January 17, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Seph

      zephyr12345- driving with headphone or earphones is illegal in many states.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse |
    • nik

      Just like anything else, it's darwinism at its finest. If you're too stupid to be aware of your surroundings even if you have headphones in/on, then out of the gene pool you go. I have no problem not-killing-myself when I wear mine. Crazy that common sense is not common at all.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • jlf2002

      @nik- Agreed

      January 17, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Phil in Oregon

      Not Darwinism, just laziness and stupidity. As they said, some are too proud to even admit it so there is no way to solve the problem short of seeing your spouse smashed under a train or something.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse |
    • Jamtx

      Agreed NIK. I use headphones while jogging but I am aware of my surroundings and I look both ways before crossing a street and pay attention to cars. I also do not have the volume blarring. I am able to hear the street noise. I do not wear them if I am jogging in the dark (early AM or late PM) or if it is high traffic time (5:00 after work when the streets are packed). Common sense goes a long way.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • dk

      I bicycle commute more than 5,000 miles per year. I wear headphones. It is no more unsafe than listening to the radio in your car.

      I average 20mph on my bike – including stop lights. That means my normal cruising speed is 26mph+ and I sometimes top 40mph. At those speeds, the wind-rush in my ears is so loud cannot hear a vehicle right next to me. However, with noise-isolating earphones, the wind noise is nearly eliminated and I can hear vehicles as some distance away. Certainly much better than any driver with windows up and the radio on.

      As long as the volume is set at a reasonable, sane level, headphones are not a safety liability.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
  2. Portland tony

    Whether you're day dreaming, talking, texting, or listening to your favorite tunes, if you are walking, you're gonna trip, fall, step off a curb, or run into something bigger than you are. Just a layman's observation.

    January 17, 2012 at 00:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sharky

      But don't know you the whiny ignorant people these days it is always someone else's fault never personal fault. Blame someone or something else as the personal self cannot ever be the problem. This will simply say the Government people are too stupid to actually be able to take care of themselves anymore.

      January 17, 2012 at 15:17 | Report abuse |
  3. Laureth

    I see more people out walking while chatting on their cell phones than I do with head phones. Those are just as dangerous.

    January 17, 2012 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phony phone

      Cell phones are much worse, conversation on them is far more distracting than listening to music.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:26 | Report abuse |
  4. Pghtaxpayer

    Darwin Effect at work. Kids, get your heads out of your rear ends and stop doing idiotic things like trespassing on railroad rights-of-way.

    January 17, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pam

      I agree – natural selection at its best

      January 17, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
    • sharoom

      Well, stupidity is not really genetic so it's not like this selection is going to solve anything.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:42 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @sharoom
      >stupidity is not really genetic

      I disagree completely.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • FrankBlourtango

      Walking with headphones on is comparable to walking with your head up your axe.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:54 | Report abuse |
  5. OfReason

    It isn't just kids or teenagers doing this, I see full grown idiots on their iPhones completely unaware of the world around them

    January 17, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TheTraveler

      "There are two things that are infinite, the Universe, and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the Universe." A. Einstein

      Simply put, if people can find a way to misuse or abuse something to their detriment, they can and they will ...

      January 17, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
  6. hamsta

    ipods have been around alot longer than u think.maybe we need to stop blaming the ipod cuz its just a minature walkman and we didnt have these problems in 1982.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seph

      Agreed. People just need to start using common sense. Didn’t their mothers teach them to look both ways before crossing the street?? I do – even if I have the light to walk.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:42 | Report abuse |
    • Poodles

      Reading comprehension fail. This was covered in the article. The problem is the prevalence of devices. You're just as bad as the idiots getting hit from an evolutionary standpoint. You can't even read a simple article. I hope you also are removed from the gene pool.

      January 17, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Poodles–

      The prevalence of devices is the problem? Ah yes, and do explain that one. Sure we have more mobile phones for everyone now, however, it is not the mobile phone fault, it is the person'a fault. Next I have to laugh hard when they talk about the mobility issue and walkmen and devices now. That was the bloody point of a walkman MOBILITY as in creating your own tapes putting them into a portable, small tape player aka a walkman and then walking with them. These things have been around for a long long long time, whether as portable radios, portable tape players, portable cd players to portable digital music players. The problem is PEOPLE. People these days think the world revolves around them and that society and everything stops for them, not that they are part of society.

      January 17, 2012 at 15:23 | Report abuse |
  7. steeve-o

    Whether or not you're in more danger of injury or accident with headphones on depends on how attentive you are as a person. If blindly crossing railroad tracks sounds like a good idea to you while wearing headphones, you're probably the type that'd do it without wearing headphones as well.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phony phone

      Except that you are more likely to hear the train without phones on.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      Unless you are deaf. I don’t hear about to many of them just walking out in front of trains.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Phony phone–

      Fail, if you actually do NOT bother to stop, and look before crossing the tracks, even with phones on, that is YOUR fault.

      January 17, 2012 at 15:25 | Report abuse |
  8. RM13

    Poor poor poor science, don't publish a study that you can not control...ever. If more people are using headphones then of course there will be more accidents involving people with headphones, if you can't figure that out then you shouldn't be a scientist in the first place. If everyone was forced to wear red shoes on the street I am fairly certain that 100% of people involved in accidents would be wearing red shoes. Doesn't mean the shoes are at fault.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • J. Crobuzon

      I don't dispute the correlation; I see people walking into trees all the time while holding phones.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • BoFo

      It's not "poor" science at all. You just don't understand it.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
    • A

      "don't publish a study that you can not control...ever"

      You must be in a very narrow field of science. Many fields cannot do completely controlled experiments, e.g., tornado research. The article mentioned the caveats of the study, and I think publishing this is good awareness for the public.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
    • oh boy

      Maybe you should read the article before commenting on "poor science"? If you did, you'd see they acknowledged the limits of their study. They made observations and reported them. Typically, to get grants or use of resources, you need to have some data to back up your proposal. The more elaborate the study you're planning, the more likely you'll need some support in the form of a preliminary study that says there's at least a trend to look into further. You may also know you'll never have the time or resources yourself to follow up on a tangent to your own research, so you may publish a preliminary study in the hopes that someone else will pick it up. And that's all this is: A study of existing data. It's not an experiment. The authors acknowledge it. How mass media reports it is a different issue altogether.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Death rate at 2,423,712 in 2007 using this as a standard leads to 19,389,696 deaths in the time frame of this study. With only 81 deaths due to "music device" road accidents this brings the odds of dying to 0.0000004%. Why was this study done and why is it news?

      January 17, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse |
  9. t3chsupport

    Texting while walking is certainly worse, but head phones are pretty stupid, too.
    What I used to do if I was going to walk or ride a bike or something, if I had those wrap around head phones, I'd lay them down around my neck and crank the volume (provided I wasn't walking through a store or something, but I wouldn't have headphones on then, either). That way I could still listen to music, and still hear things coming up behind me, because it doesn't get very loud when it's not on your ears. Wearing just one earbud can work, too, but I wouldn't recommend it for cyclists, because you aren't going to know exactly what sound is coming from where fast enough to act if your music is too loud in one ear.

    January 17, 2012 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • paper

      What about deaf people & accidents? There should be a law!

      January 17, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
  10. Thorbecke

    There is no need to crank up the volume so high when you have earphones/earplugs. It's not good for you anyway. I should invest in manufacturers of hearing aids. In 30-40 years there'll be an enormous demand for them.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. LivinginVA

    If you have your headphones up loud enough to not hear what is going on around you (unless you have the expensive sound-blocking ones), you are damaging your hearing. I tell my kids that if they can't hear someone talking in a normal speaking voice, it's too loud.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Katie

    If they ban the use of phones and music devices while walking then it won't be long before they ban talking and walking or walking and chewing gum at the same time. What is happening to this society? It is becoming such a nanny state.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • txhumminbird

      Tyran-nanny

      January 17, 2012 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
  13. Ben Alcobra

    Agree with RM13 that this is junk science in action. Of course more people wearing headphones translates to more people having accidents while wearing headphones, just as more people wearing blue suede shoes would translate to more people having accidents while wearing blue suede shoes. Did blue suede shoes cause the accidents? Fact: there are many different designs of headphones and in-ear listening devices. There are noise-cancelling and non-noise cancelling systems, where the latter DO NOT CANCEL TRAFFIC NOISE. People using those headphones can hear what they're listening to as well as traffic noise, just as two people talking and walking could hear each other and what's going on around them. Those of you automatically calling headphone users idiots or making snide references to Darwin without knowing what kind of headphones those "idiots" are using should apply for work as climatologists. That industry is always on the lookout for good junk scientists.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Joshua Ludd

    strangely enough, I have noticed a marked drop in pedestrians who bother to look at or pay attention to traffic signals or even whether or not there is oncoming traffic. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen people just walk out into the street without looking and expect traffic to stop for them... with or without headphones.. usually without.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Alex

    Great, now we can have more laws to regulate how we walk? I have an idea for a law that will solve this problem: "If you walk while not paying attention and have the inability to hear warning sounds (horns, bells or simply the sound of a car driving or train on tracks) and you cross into the path of a large moving object then you lose. Period." (penalty could include death). Pedestrians (should) know the risk of not paying attention to 2000+ pound cars and 20+ tonn trains moving at 30+ MPH within a few feet of thier location and if they don't then they will learn the hard way.

    The real cause of this problem could stem simply from how much more prevelent audio devices have become. While we have had the discman or walkman since the 80's, these were still bulky and lots of people simply could not be bothered. Now that they are so small and hold everything, insead of having to carry around discs or tapes, more people have them so this could just simply mean that 4x the number of people listen to music while walking and hence, the number hit should also go up ~4x.

    The other issue, if any cause/effect exists, is that many people feel the need to play their music at a level that drowns out almost all external background noise. If this is the case, then those people just need to understand that having the inability to hear while walking in/through/near traffic is unsafe (in addition to permenently damaging their hearing with long term usage). Even if walking where/when they should, if a driver makes a mistake, a last minute horn blast might alert the pedestrian to jump out of the way.

    In short, regardles if a cause/effect relationship exists, now new law needs to be written except the "darwin law". We can't try and protect people from themselves through regulation. People will always find new unsafe and unhealth things to do to themselves.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Whack Job

      Solution is for adults to act like adults, take off their headphones, and stop acting like self-absorbed teenagers.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ Whack Job
      Most teenagers I’ve met tend to act more like adults than their parents. Looking both ways does not require hearing.

      I’m 33 btw.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse |
    • teresa, ohio

      lol.... come live in my college town. If you drive, you MUST know that college students wear headphones, blab on their cells, and do NOT look in both directions before crossing the road. As pedestrians have the right of way, the burden is all on the driver. Collij stewdents r dumm.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      @ teresa, ohio
      College students are both teenagers and adults. Not really seeing your point here.. Personally I’ve never bought into the pedestrians having the right of way myself. Physics says otherwise.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse |
  16. sammy

    Just God weeding out the dumber ones so they do not reproduce.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sean

      @sammy
      But but but … didn’t god know they would be stupid before they were born? All knowing and all? The real question is why did god give you a stupid kid?

      January 17, 2012 at 13:02 | Report abuse |
  17. DeeNYC

    The truth is most people are too dumb to do two things at same time. I see people who are completely oblivious to everything around them and they're not listening to music or anything. Can't regulate stupidity.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Phil in KC

    One thing that has changed since the days of the Walkman is that the headsets are far more advanced. They used to be these foam things that sat outside your ear on a metal headband. They let in more external noise than the new ones. The other thing that has changed is that people walking around with MP3s is more pervasive than it was with the Walkman. Even though many were sold, you just didn't see that many people out walking around with them. Now, it's hard to find a kid who doesn't have those stupid earbud wires sticking out of his head. And, if he's not listening to an MP3, he's texting. Young people today are oblivious to the world around them. They've isolated themselves in an electronic world. They're missing out on life.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sean

      I have no problem hearing while wearing my earphones. Volume is a wonderful thing. Stupidity is what it is.

      January 17, 2012 at 13:04 | Report abuse |
  19. Ithinkthat

    Can they make a law banning my wife from talking while I'm driving?

    January 17, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phony phone

      How about just banning her talking anywhere? 😉

      January 17, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse |
  20. Gray

    Getting hit by a train or car while listening to your headphones? This is natural selection at work, plain and simple. If you are not paying attention and gett killed, we are only thinning the herd of the dumb, incompetent, and ones that should not reproduce. I ride a train to work every day, and see these morons all the time, but it can be done safely if you have about 3 ounces of common sense.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. John

    I understand listening while standing in a train for 15-30 minutes. Before stepping off a train and bumping people or crossing intersections, headphones should be off or in one ear. Otherwise you become a selfish nuisance to the public. Just enjoy the beauty of weather (even in a storm), observe people and the environment, and the walk is a little more interesting than a song you've heard multiple times.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Stephany

    Common sense should come into play somewhere. Be aware of your surroundings and act accordingly.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. shamgar50

    More entrants for the "Darwin Awards".

    January 17, 2012 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mike

    Just another reason for politicians to demand that citizens trade more freedom for safety, and then not give us either one.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Marie

    The article does not say whether these accidents were more or less likely to befall the unattractive. I should only care about this if really good looking people were tragically disfigured by a city bus or an airplane propeller. More research and funding for correlational studies is needed to determine the relationship between beauty and intelligence before one can proclaim this article to be "news worthy."

    January 17, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. JOE

    I've no patience for ignorance.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. txhumminbird

    There was a teen killed right here in NE Texas recently, walking along the RR tracks with headphones on. So sad.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mitchell

    I only have one earphone in my ear while I'm walking

    January 17, 2012 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Darrin

      You are missing half of the song! whats the point of even wearing it?

      January 17, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  29. Darrin

    I walk with my headphones on all of the time. I stay to the right of the sidewalk and keep my head up. I look all four ways when I cross the street. There has never been an issue.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Whack Job

    It should be fatal. Perhaps if these numbers increase, people will come out of their closed-off, self-absorbed world. No one in their late 20s or older should be walking around with an ipod/MP3 in their ear. Grow up.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. K3Citizen

    I plan on buying each republican in office an IPOD.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Heather

    The data should be looked at by age.

    I see people walking out in the middle of traffic, expecting traffic to stop for them. Whose fault is it if they get hit?

    Saw a group of kids standing around the corner pushing each other, not paying attention to people around them. They could push someone else into the street but they don't give it a thought. I don't think younger people are aware of their surroundings anymore. It's all about them. Seriously.

    I'm 32 years old. But I feel like I'm in a different generation. Probably a different planet from the younger generation. Heh. I'm on Earth. Don't know where they are, but it ain't here.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Coach Lew

    You really don't have to be a Rocket Scientist to figure that out. Walking, running or driving doing things as such could get you maimed or killed eventually because we think everyone is watching where we are going and won't hit us or run us down.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sheila

    I'm always telling people to "hang up and walk" in NYC. Someone more tuned into a music download than his surroundings was hit and killed by a garbage truck on Madison Ave.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. swiftouch

    This just in. 108 times more people die from drunk driving than they do from listening to headphones.

    But you people who drink love to ignore that statistic. Because "you" never drive drive drunk. And neither do your neighbors or friends. Whatever. Everyone I ever knew who had a glass of wine or a couple beers, or even hard liquor. By the end of the night they are all driving themselves home.

    It's time to start taking drivers licenses away for LIFE on the first infraction. 1 and done.

    Stop driving drunk. Better yet. Stop drinking.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. I listen to music and walk down busy streets

    I only keep one earbud in. The one facing away from the street. Also, the oldest rule in the book for most of us; "look both ways" is always in efffect. It's not that hard.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Walking while listening

    I like to listen to audiobooks while walking. As I have a little common sense, I always leave one ear bud out so I can hear cars, etc.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Lifetraveller

    "Personal" listening devices are the worst inventions to come along. 1. They render you completely unaware of your surroundings including your fellow men and women therefore lessening the opportunities for informal social contact and awareness 2. They are not used for listening to music. They are used to dull your mind and lessen your ability to concentrate and actually think about important things around you. 3. When combined with using a cell phone to check Facebook updates or to play that game of solitaire for your subway ride to work they become the enemy of any creative and evolutionary progress what-so-ever.

    PS: Listening to music takes place when you are in a room with a high fidelity system, a comfortable chair and you create an atmosphere of listening pleasure.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mitch_Skool

      Lifetraveller wrote: ""Personal" listening devices are the worst inventions to come along."

      I think the Iron Maiden was worse.

      LF:" 1. They render you completely unaware of your surroundings including your fellow men and women therefore lessening the opportunities for informal social contact and awareness."

      I wasn't put here to add something the desolate lives of others.

      LT: "2. They are not used for listening to music. They are used to dull your mind and lessen your ability to concentrate and actually think about important things around you."

      I listen to science podcasts and punk rock, both of which are much more likely to stimulate my mind than random interactions with strangers, half of which are of below average intelligence.

      LT: "3. When combined with using a cell phone to check Facebook updates or to play that game of solitaire for your subway ride to work they become the enemy of any creative and evolutionary progress what-so-ever."

      Absolutely. Connecting with one's real family and/or friends or engaging in idle amusement during an otherwise boring and unpleasant commute is worthless. Better to spend the time interacting with random forever-alone strangers with issues.

      "PS: Listening to music takes place when you are in a room with a high fidelity system, a comfortable chair and you create an atmosphere of listening pleasure."

      Listening to music also takes place anywhere else I care to hear it, thanks to mobile electronics. Just watch out for cars, like you were taught when you were a toddler.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:50 | Report abuse |
  39. Andrew

    So there were only 116 crashes involving pedestrians wearing headphones during an 8 year period? That's only 14.5 per year, or slightly more than one per month in a nation of 300 million. Why is this in the news?

    January 17, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Stephen Colbert

    I am reading this on my iPad 64GB with WiFi while crossing the road...

    January 17, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Darth Cheney

      Did you make it across OK? If you didn't, reply from Heaven.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
  41. LolaS

    Having earphones in has nothing to do with being aware of your surroundings. I bike all the time with my earphones in and ipod on and am constantly paying attention to what's going on around me. It's not the earphones/ipod/cell phone that are the problem – it's the moron using them.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rapierpoint

    Half of the pedestrians were struck by trains??? How can someone not know a train is coming, even with headphones, if you're walking on the tracks? Or did these pedestrians walk into the side of moving trains? Seems to me those people have more problems than just whether or not they have on head phones.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. svann

    Its not just that they dont hear. If they looked both ways before crossing it would be fine. I think though the music is a distraction, not just from hearing.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Qui Gon Bong

    Seriously, if you can't pay attention while walking around with headphones on, you get what you deserve. I've used them extensively for almost 30 years and have not once been in an 'accident' because of me wearing them – it's ALWAYS the other guy who's not paying attention and runs into ME.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • teresa, ohio

      ::: right, right:::: never you. ; )

      January 17, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
  45. noteabags

    I think texting is more dangerous than listening.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. guitarman

    Natural selection of the species at work, here.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Darwin Award

    If you're that derpy and not paying attention to your surroundings while walking with headphones on, you deserve to get hit by a car, and I have zero sympathy. It's called common sense and personal responsibility, both of which have all but vanished here in America. If you can't swim, get out of the gene pool.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Branamsays

    Obviously we need to ban headphones while walking. Kinda like how people stopped flying through windows killing other people when we forced everyone to wear seatbelts.

    January 17, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. teresa, ohio

    When I go walking and wear my earbuds, I only keep one in my ear. It's too dangerous. There are bicycle riders, joggers, little kids, rapists, criminals... all that could come up in back of you if you arent aware of WHO is around you. It's just
    common sense to only listen to music with one ear and the world, the other ear if you are fortunate enough to have two good ears.

    January 17, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Scott

    It's tripled in 7 years because our damn town wont spend the money on fixing up the sidewalks, and businesses (I really don't care who) won't put salt on the sidewalks.

    January 17, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.