Planning to squeeze in an afternoon jog while listening to that new Lady Gaga single? Think again. iPods and cell phones may be as ubiquitous on the sidewalks as they are in the office, but thanks to recent proposals across the nation pedestrian earphones could soon become a punishable offense.

Most individuals are aware that distracted driving poses as a significant contributor to car accidents. But now, the prevalence of pedestrians who use interactive devices, also contributing to car accidents, has inspired lawmakers to take new statistics and scientific findings to the floor.

How “auditory masking” impacts pedestrian safety

A report released last week by the Governors Highway Safety Association shows pedestrian fatalities are on the rise for the first time in four years due to distracted pedestrians who, by use of earphones or other musical devices, have been subject to “auditory masking.”

Auditory masking is a risky behavior defined by the Washington-based group as an activity that filters out external noises including oncoming traffic, contributing to pedestrian injury or even pedestrian fatality.

Fines on the line: legislative proposals to curb pedestrian distraction

While senators in New York and Arkansas have tried to ban pedestrian earphone use outright, California State Senator Joe Simitian took a more moderate approach. You may remember Simitian as the leader behind current measures prohibiting drivers from texting or using hand-held devices.

In keeping with existing legislation, Simitian now hopes to instate a $20 fine for cyclists who send text messages and to increase the current fine for texting drivers by an additional $30.

Mr. Simitian admits that there is only so much that legislation can do to improve pedestrian safety.

“At some point,” he says, “you do have to simply rely on the good judgment of folks as they go through their daily lives.”

Preventing distracted pedestrian accidents

In order to reduce the likelihood of a pedestrian car accident, take Mr. Simitian’s words to heart. Avoid the use of hand-held devices while cycling and be extra vigilant when wearing headphones. When possible, walk, bike, or jog on sidewalks or other areas designated for pedestrian use to reduce accident risk.

As responsible San Diegans, we hopefully do our part to be aware of traffic, whether pedestrian or driver. But unfortunately, accidents do happen. If you have been injured in an accident due to distracted driving, cycling or pedestrian activity, call an accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael Pines.

As experienced personal injury attorneys, we can help you recover for your injuries without any out-of-pocket expenses on your behalf. Call us at 1-858-551-2090 or contact us online for your free case evaluation.

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