On the heels of a recently released report in Injury Prevention Journal, the Department of Public Safety at NYU just sent out a Community Safety Alert about the dangers of walking while wearing headphones or earbuds. In fact, this report has been widely circulated by local and national media all week. In NYU’s statement, they cited the fact that “accidents involving people hit by vehicles while wearing earbuds have tripled since 2004.”
Now that does sound pretty alarming, doesn’t it?
Well, maybe it will sound less alarming when you consider that these 116 incidents only make up about 0.3% of all pedestrian fatalities during that time period.
Transportation for America does a great job of illuminating one of the major reasons why pedestrians continue to fall victim to the streets (hint: it has to do with the car-centric design of our towns and cities).
It’s always worthwhile to be aware of your surroundings, and I personally try not to walk or bike with earbuds in, but the coverage of this report has just been ridiculous and a distraction from the real problem: The prevalence of unsafe walking conditions throughout our country.