Posted On: February 15, 2012

University of Maryland Research : Pedestrians Wearing Headphones at Greater Risk for Traffic Accident Injury and Death

Have you noticed how the behavior of Maryland pedestrians has changed in recent years?

Used to be people walked down the street, looked around at the buildings and scenery, and thought about the day's activities. They walked to and from work, school, and the store, pushed babies in carriages, and trotted their dogs on leashes. The main pedestrian activity in Md. was getting where you needed to go. The biggest distraction was the honking of car horns and of course navigating safely across busy Baltimore City and other Maryland streets.

Now the technological devices that bring a world of information and entertainment to our fingertips are in fact posing a risk to life and limb for not only Maryland distracted drivers -- but for distracted pedestrians, too.

Today's wired walkers aren't just juggling briefcases, backpacks, shopping bags, and cups of coffee. Drive through downtown Baltimore or any busy Maryland community today, and you can count on one hand the number of pedestrians who aren't engaged in some sort of technology fueled activity. Pedestrians are talking on cell phones, surfing the Internet, texting their friends, and listening to music on headsets. With their heads down and their hearing muffled, these multitasking distracted pedestrians are at risk for being involved in serious or even fatal pedestrian traffic accidents.

Walking to the Wrong Tune in Baltimore, Maryland : Pedestrian Accidents Waiting to Happen
A new study out of Maryland shows that motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians wearing headphones plugged into devices such as iPods and MP3 players are in fact on the rise. Richard Lichenstein, director of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center, led research conducted with his University of Maryland colleagues to look at traffic crash incidents involving pedestrians wearing headsets.

As a Baltimore County pedestrian accident injury attorney knows from work with clients in Maryland -- it only takes a split second for a fatal, devastating pedestrian traffic crash to happen. Md. researchers conducting the study on pedestrian traffic accidents and people wearing headsets looked through databases in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), as well as reports appearing in the Google News Archives. Their findings were alarming:

  • Of 116 reports of pedestrian traffic accidents found where the walkers were wearing headphones, 81 of those crashes resulted in death.

  • Nine out of 10 of these cases occurred in urban areas.

  • Two-thirds of pedestrian accident victims were young men under age 30, and one-third were boys under 18.

  • More than half of these accidents involving headset-wearing pedestrians (55 percent) involved trains, with about 3 in 10 cases involving train horns blowing which were reportedly not heard.

Life has become more complicated. As experienced personal injury attorneys in Baltimore County MD, we see how driving and pedestrian distractions can lead to serious and fatal vehicle accidents. The findings of this University of Maryland study should be heard loud and clear by anyone walking OR driving on Baltimore City or other Maryland streets. Please keep your head up and your eyes and ears open.

Related Maryland Accident Injury Attorney article:

Maryland Hybrid Drivers : Pedestrian Accident Injury Liability Claims Up, Insurance Report Says (Jan. 31, 2012)

Sources:

INJURIES TO HEADPHONE-WEARING PEDESTRIANS STRUCK BY CARS AND TRAINS MORE THAN TRIPLE SINCE 2004, ACCORDING TO UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND RESEARCHERS
University of Maryland Medical Center News Release, Jan. 16, 2012

Hazards: Pedestrians Are Advised to Keep Ears Open
The New York Times Jan. 24, 2012

Posted On: February 5, 2012

US Labor Dept. Sues Towson, Maryland Employer over Mishandling Workers' Retirement Contributions

A Towson, Maryland rehabilitation center has been sued by the United States Department of Labor for allegedly mishandling employees' retirement contributions. According to a news release, the U.S. Labor Dept. has filed a lawsuit against Towson Rehabilitation Center LLC and its CEO for failure to remit employees' retirement contributions to the company's 401K plan.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, seeks to restore all plan losses and "permanently bar the defendants from serving in a fiduciary capacity to any employee benefit plan…" covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

A case such as this suggests an alleged breakdown in trust between the employer and employees--in this case, with workers' retirement contributions at stake. Trust can also break down when someone is injured at work, and the employer may not always do what is in the best interest of the injured employee.

Towson, Maryland Workers Comp lawyers also understand the grief injured workers go through when the trust between employer and employee is broken.

When someone is hurt in the course of their employment in Maryland, there may be a knee-jerk reaction to let the employer handle matters. Often hard-working, dedicated employees believe "my boss knows what's best." They don't want to make waves -- particularly in this rough economy where good jobs are hard to come by and hold onto. So they leave it up to their employer to advise them on how to handle their work injury. Maybe the boss tells them to take a couple days off, rest up, and see if the injury improves. To that we say, don't do it! Document your injury, report the incident to your supervisor, get medical attention…and contact an experienced Towson, MD work injury attorney.

As we tell our clients whom we assist in filing Maryland Workers Compensation claims… If you get hurt at work, don't let guilt or loyalty to your employer prevent you from filing a claim that will help you in the long run.

Even in cordial employer-employee relationships, things can go downhill very quickly when a worker is injured and the employer may be responsible and held liable. This is why it's always best to consult an experienced injury attorney if you or a loved one are hurt while performing your job in Md. That injury may have repercussions for years to come. And if you don't handle things properly from the onset, you may be left high and dry with mounting medicals bills and disabilities that prevent you from working and earning your wages.

The case referred to here against the Towson, Md employer was filed by the Labor Department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in Philadelphia, PA.

Related Maryland Injury Attorney articles:

Maryland Car Accidents While at Work : How MD Workers' Compensation Works with a Motor Vehicle Accident Liability Claim

Sources:

US Labor Department sues Towson Rehabilitation Center in Maryland and owner to restore employees’ 401(k) contributions
US Dept. of Labor News Release Feb. 3, 2012

Justia Dockets and Filing:
Solis v. Towson Rehabilitation Center, LLC et al January 11, 2012

Related Web Resource:

MD Workers' Compensation in the Courts of Appeals