Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Watch out for that manhole! … walking distracted and paying the price

by Patt Morrison

32803 full
A woman walks down the street with the white headphones of the Apple iPod in her ears April 19, 2005 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

If your gut has been telling you not to wear headphones while you walk around town, you now have vindication. A new study in the journal ''Injury Prevention,'' using statistics from accidents between pedestrians and vehicles between 2004 and 2011, concludes that in nearly three-quarters of those crashes, the pedestrian was wearing headphones. And in 29 percent of the cases, someone sounded a warning before the collision. Besides the obvious conclusion that if the volume is cranked up too high, pedestrians can’t hear what’s going on around them, researchers also pointed to a phenomenon they call “inattentional blindness.” Apparently, when your brain is busy processing whatever’s on your iPod or MP3 player, it fails to “see” – or pay attention to – things like traffic.


Do you wear headphones while you’re walking or jogging near traffic? Or on your bike? Do you feel you’re less aware of your environment when you are? And what about that guy over there texting while he crosses the street? Did you see the video of the woman walking straight into a fountain while she’s texting? If not, click on the video below.


Amy Alkon, advice columnist; author, "I see Rude People: One woman's battle to beat some manners into impolite society"

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy Patt Morrison? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC