Headphones Make Children More Likely to Be Victims of Pedestrian Accidents

Driving or walking with headphones or earbuds on isn’t illegal in New Jersey

But is it unsafe?

Many experts consider headphones unsafe for drivers, and they may be even more dangerous for pedestrians.

A Maryland study found that injuries to pedestrians tripled in six years as the use of headphones, headsets, and earbuds became more common.

In the study of 116 cases involving serious pedestrian injuries or fatalities from 2004 to 2011, where victims were wearing headphones, in 29% of cases the train or car or that struck the pedestrian used a warning horn before the collision.Nearly 75% of the accidents involving headphones were fatal for the pedestrians.

Thus, parents should warn their children – including teenagers – to be especially careful when crossing a road while wearing headphones or earbuds.Jay-walking or crossing against the light is obviously even more dangerous than crossing at a crosswalk.

Most states allow drivers to wear headphones.Like New Jersey, thirty-one other states and the District of Columbia have no laws prohibiting earbud or headphone use by drivers.

Some states, like California, allow headphones or earbuds that cover only one ear, as long as the other ear is uncovered.(If you’re planning on driving outside of New Jersey, and want to know if you can wear your new Beats behind the wheel, here’s a guide to state headphone laws.)

However, headphone use by drivers can be hazardous:

  • Loud music, especially if heard via headphones, can block out warning sirens from emergency vehicles, honking car horns, railroad crossing bells, or screeching tires.
  • Headphone cables can tangle and interfere with driving.
  • Anything the driver needs to adjust or fiddle with is a distraction.

According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 65% of near-misses and 80% of car crashes involve drivers who were distracted during the three seconds before the accident or near-crash.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian or vehicle accident, or if a family member has been injured or killed in an accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at the New Jersey Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for help.


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