"Everybody is aware of the risk of cell phones and texting in automobiles, but I see more and more teens distracted with the latest devices and headphones in their ears," says lead author Richard Lichenstein, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Unfortunately as we make more and more enticing devices, the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds increases."Headphones as a safety hazard. Hmm, interesting.
Researchers reviewed 116 accident cases from 2004 to 2011 in which injured pedestrians were documented to be using headphones. Seventy percent of the 116 accidents resulted in death to the pedestrian. More than two-thirds of victims were male (68 percent) and under the age of 30 (67 percent). More than half of the moving vehicles involved in the accidents were trains (55 percent), and nearly a third (29 percent) of the vehicles reported sounding some type of warning horn prior to the crash.Well, we already have a much-vaunted precedent as to how to prevent them, don't we?
"I hope that these results will help to significantly reduce incidence of injuries and lead us to a better understanding of how such injuries occur and how we can prevent them."
Seat belt laws are widely regarded (by politicians, anyway) as being a 100% success despite outlawing personal choice of one's own level of risk. They save lives and - despite what others have claimed - have not merely shifted deaths from those inside the vehicle, to those outside. Nope, not at all.
Cycle helmets are also compulsory in New Zealand and Australia (natch), and there are regular calls for the same policy to be legislated on here. All for your own good, of course. The benevolent state removing your freedoms to save you from yourselves.
So, if it is to be accepted that the state is entitled to pass laws solely for the purpose of restricting our bad choices, then the logical answer to the problem of sensory deprivation by headphones is to instigate spot fines for pedestrians who wear them, surely. Or is that just too obviously illiberal for our omniscient overlords to spin their way out of?
Well, apart from Mayor Bloomberg, of course.