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Common sense would tell you that wearing headphones (those not made to communicate hands-free with a phone) while driving would be illegal – or at least stupid.
But apparently it’s not that clear cut in the majority of the 50 states in America. According to AAA, wearing headphones is “mostly illegal” in just four states, while it’s “mostly legal” in 33 states. In the remaining 13, it’s apparently a Facebook relationship status of “it’s complicated.”
The complicated states have differing laws from state to state but for the most part it means that unless headphones are built into a helmet or is a Bluetooth headset, it’s illegal.
In case you thought that it was perfectly safe and legal to use headphones while driving, you might want to double check your state’s law. Or just be a nice, safe driver and avoid wearing them altogether.
Listening to your tunes while you walk to your destination may make the exercise more enjoyable, but it’s also dangerous. A new study shows that as the popularity of personal music devices has grown, so has the amount of deaths and injuries from resulting crashes.
According to research conducted by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, the number of pedestrian injuries that occurred while listening to iPods and MP3 devices with headphones on has more than tripled in the past six years. “Everybody is aware of the risk of cellphones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears,” said Richard Lichenstein, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Looking at 116 accident cases from 2004 to 2011 where pedestrians were struck by vehicles while listening to personal music devices, 70 percent of pedestrians were killed and more than two-thirds of those involved were males under 30 years old. And it really didn’t make much of a difference when drivers tried to warn pedestrians by honking their horn – it still lead to fatalities in nearly three-quarters of cases studied.
The study finds that the rising occurrences of these types of accidents correspond to the popularity of iPods and MP3 players. The lesson for today – turn them off while you’re enjoying the fresh air. Do you listen to your iPod while walking? If so, will you turn it off now that you know about how many accidents occur because pedestrians can’t hear what’s going on around them? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Source: USA Today]