Wearing headphones may increase chances of getting hit by car, study says

(Photo: Flickr/faygate)

Wearing headphones while you walk or run may increase your chances of getting hit by a car, a study says.

The University of Maryland Medical School released a recent study that found the majority of pedestrians hit by cars had headsets on.

Of 116 cases of people struck while wearing headphones from 2004 to 2011, two-thirds of the victims were males under 30 and 70 percent of the injuries were fatal. In one-third of the incidents, the striking vehicle use some kind of warning, like a horn.

Dr. Richard Lichenstein of the Univ. of Maryland led the study and says when someone puts on a headset, they allocate their attention to what they are hearing while also monitoring their surroundings at the same time.

"You really can't do both of those things at 100 percent," Lichenstein said.

ABC7 caught up with District resident Paul Wegerson who was listening to a BBC podcast while he was walking.

Wegerson says he knows the risks and tries to use his eyes to detect dangers he doesn't hear.

"There [are] lots of alleyways and dark places that I usually pull up to and peek across, so I always try to be mindful," he said.

Of all the pedestrians ABC7 interviewed Tuesday who had on headphones, not one said the study would get them to stop wearing headphones while walking or running.

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