According to a study published this past week in the research journal Injury Prevention, between January 2004 and June 2011, there were 116 reports of death or injury of pedestrians wearing headphones. As an Orange County personal injury attorney, I am troubled by the findings of this study for a few reasons. One, as we all know there has been a sharp increase in the ownership of devices with headphones. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, "74 percent of teenagers reported owning an MP3 player in 2008, cell phone use increased from 45 percent in 2004 to 71 percent in 2008 for teenagers (12 to 17 years old)."
All studies aside, this increase is evident from the number of stories we have covered on this blog detailing the consequences of driving while distracted by the use of cell phones, MP3 players, etc. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2009 approximately 5,500 people died and half a million were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver. And, as the Pew Center's studies confirm, the prevalence and importance of cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, etc. has and will only continue to increase from this point forward.
The frequent use of headphones is dangerous for drivers, lest they become distracted, but for pedestrians as well because their distracted actions, too, pose a danger to themselves and others. According to the California Highway Patrol's 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), a total of 596 pedestrians were killed after being struck by a vehicle. These accidents are typically the result of a combination of both driver and pedestrian distraction. This warning from the research journal highlights the growing problem of distracted drivers and pedestrians, and the cases we at Cohn & Swartzon take and discuss on this blog highlight the consequences of the increase in distraction.
Unfortunately, the frequency of new stories about the involvement of drivers distracted by the use of cell phones, iPods, and other headphone-intensive gadgets in car accidents does not suggest that these numbers will decline in the near future.
So, how can you protect yourself and your loved ones if they are involved in such an accident? One of the most important things you do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Injuries resulting from these types of car accidents can be catastrophic and very expensive. And oftentimes, there is a liable party that should be held responsible.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a car accident, be it as a pedestrian or a motorist, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Cohn & Swartzon. When victims sustain injuries or fatalities occur, the costs from current and future medical bills, current and future wage losses, and other accident-related expenses can add up quickly. As experienced personal injury attorneys, we at Cohn & Swartzon are dedicated to helping you obtain compensation for these losses. Don't let an insufficient settlement leave your family with an impossible financial burden. Contact us for a free consultation today.