Accidents between cars and pedestrians wearing headphones have been trending upward, and that trend has been pretty sharp. Back in 2004 and 2005, a study found that there were only 16 of these accidents all across the United States. Just a few years later, between 2010 and 2011, that number spiked up to 47 total.
Interestingly, a lot of drivers said that they honked their horns before the crash, with 30 percent making that claim. The fact that the collisions still occurred could indicate that horns are made irrelevant when people decide to wear headphones, as they have the music up so loud that they don’t hear the warning – or they are so distracted that, even though they hear it, they don’t react in time.
Of course, it’s absolutely worth noting that the converse of this information means that two-thirds of the drivers did not honk their horns. It could be argued, then, that the headphones did not make that much difference, as the pedestrians would not have had any warning even without them.
The studies did find that the majority of the people in these accidents were under 30 years old. Additionally, a significant portion–roughly 33 percent–were 18 or younger.
One expert said that the problem could be that young people just aren’t all that aware of their surrounding, especially when they have music to zone in on. Both sensory deprivation and distraction also play a role.
Be that as it may, pedestrians still have a right to safety when crossing the street or walking near traffic, and those who are hit through no fault of their own–even with headphones on–may be able to seek compensation in Oregon.
Source: Live Science, “Injuries, Deaths Rise for Pedestrians Wearing Headphones,” Linda Thrasybule, accessed Sep. 24, 2015