London: Researchers have found a dramatic rise in injuries to people using headphones while walking on the streets and have warned of serious accidents involving pedestrians using electronic devices, such as iPods and mobile phones.
There is rising concern about the near trance-like state people can apparently enter while using mobile phones, MP3 players or electronic personal organisers, the Daily Mail reported.
Psychologists view it as "divided attention" or "inattentional blindness".
The research, published in the Injury Prevention journal, analysed US data taken from US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, Google news archives and a university research database between 2004 to last year on injuries to pedestrians using headphones.
Cases involving mobile phones, including hands-free, or cyclists were excluded.
There were a total of 116 reports of death or injury, jumping from 16 in 2004-05 to 47 in 2010-11 during the study period. In a total of 81 of the 116 collisions, 70 per cent led to person's death. In a quarter of the cases a warning such as a horn or siren was sounded before the crash.
Two out of three victims were men and under the age of 30, with around one in ten of all cases under the age of 18. Nine out of ten cases occurred in urban areas and more than half of the victims were struck by trains.