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What's Up Magazine

Living Life Unplugged

Mar 13, 2012 02:09PM ● By Anonymous
Most of us agree it is potentially dangerous behind-the-wheel behavior. Some of us, however, might admit to a little risky business ourselves when we do things like change the CD at 50 mph or try to blow our nose when careening down I-97 while angling toward the Benfield Blvd. exit across oncoming traffic entering from Route 32. (Yes, I admit it.) But what about distractions when we aren’t driving? According to researchers at our own University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, walking while plugged in to music can be treacherous, too.

Those cerebral Terps studied 116 accident cases from 2004 to 2011, involving injured pedestrians who had been wearing headphones. Unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of the accidents resulted in pedestrian fatalities. And nearly a third of the drivers involved reported sounding a warning horn before the crash. According to the University of Maryland findings, accidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones have tripled in the past six years. These are sad, headshaking statistics.

Of course what also has to be factored in is the rise in the amount and use of the increasingly diminutive devices over the past six years. This has to have played a part in more people being injured simply because more people than ever before are plugged in.

And, of course, as a responsible pedestrian, you have to stay aware, be sensible, always look both ways, and never jaywalk. And keep the decibel level low enough to hear what’s going on outside your ears.