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Safety Experts Urge Pedestrians and Cyclists to Be Aware of the Distractions Caused by Headphone Use

According to an article on the WashingtonExaminer.com, public safety experts are concerned that headphones used to listen to digital music players are becoming a fatal distraction for pedestrians, joggers, and cyclists.

The article gave examples of some recent accidents, including a jogger who was killed by a tractor trailer after crossing against a light while wearing earphones and a 14-year-old girl who was hit by an Amtrak train when she walked across the tracks while listening to an iPod.

Since digital players are relatively new, the article points out that few studies have been conducted to prove a link between earphones and fatal accidents. But cities around the world are shedding light on the potential danger. London began warning residents of “iPod zombies” after seeing an increase in cyclists’ deaths. In the U.S., San Francisco has ads warning walkers, “Do you want Beethoven to be the last thing you hear?”

In addition, police point out that headphones can be a magnet for criminals. Alexandria police Sgt. Mike Kochis is quoted in the article as saying, “If you have your headphones on, it’s one of your senses that you can’t use to stay alert.”

When using headphones, stay safe by keeping aware of your surroundings and turning down the volume.