Maryland Traffic Safety Update: iPods, Bluetooth Headsets can Open the Door to Tragic Auto Accidents

Traffic safety is always a hot topic, but more so these days as drivers in Maryland and around the country have more and more distractions that conspire to take their attention away from the most important task at had, safely driving their vehicle in traffic. As a Baltimore auto accident attorney and injury lawyer, my firm represents drivers, passengers and pedestrians injured through the negligence of other motorists.

Car and truck crashes can result from numerous causes, from outside influences such as poorly maintained pavement or bad weather, to mechanical problems such as worn out steering components or bald tires, all the way to driver error. One subset of driver error would have to be self-imposed distractions, such as fiddling with the radio or talking on a cell phone.

It’s no secret that cell phones are more and more being singled out as potentially dangerous instruments in the hands of motorists in Baltimore, Annapolis, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in our area. Because it is everyone’s responsibility to watch out for dangers on the roads, drivers and pedestrians alike should consider the growing threat that all mobile devices pose to public safety.

More and more we hear news stories about people killed or injured as a result of apparent inattention when out in public. Safety may not be a concern when listening to an iPod while seated in a restaurant or movie theater, but move out to the parking lot, intersection or highway and you have a recipe for disaster, if not all-out tragedy.

Case in point, the teenager who was killed by a train while walking along railroad tracks on her way to school. According to reports, the Baltimore-area teen was walking with a friend while listening to music using earphones. Her friend, who was not using earphones, heard the train coming and was able to get out of harm’s way. But the girl listening to the music was not so lucky. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

You can be certain that this situation also occurs on a daily basis with drivers on public roads. While it is against the law to wear headphones while driving, many people do. What this means is that it is too easy for these “plugged-in” drivers to ignore the sirens of emergency vehicles and other audible warning signals. Sometimes, those cars almost cause an accident as the ambulance of fire engine must steer out of the driver’s way.

Traffic accidents can and do cause death and serious, long-term injury. It is only common sense that drivers recognize the dangers of shutting off that all-important sense of hearing and make a change for the better. Drive safe and look out for yourself and your passengers. The life you save may be your own.

Safety issues arise as drivers, pedestrians plug in, tune out,, January 10, 2010

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