Listening to music on headphones can no longer be considered just a recreational activity. It’s on its way to becoming a style statement amongst youngsters. But what happens when this fad becomes fatal? Road and travel safety experts say that there should be a law for pedestrians that restricts them from listening to music on headphones while travelling.
In the past few months, the number of accidents caused due to people listening to music on headphones has increased, the latest case being that of a 16-year-old Delhi student who was crushed to death in Ghaziabad on January 28 by a speeding train. He failed to hear the sound of an approaching train, as he was listening to music on his headphones.
However, youngsters are not really happy with the idea of introducing a fine or any other form of law that restricts the use of headphones. “Don’t we even have the freedom to listen to music while we are travelling? Now somebody will keep a tab on our recreational activities as well. This is not done,” says Preeyank Chaddha, 19, a student. Others feel that a rule on volume control should be introduced. “Maybe there should be a tab on the volume,” says Sakshi Khatri, 24, a fashion design student.
Meanwhile, road safety experts say that any sort of distraction while walking on the road, or even driving and travelling, can lead to or cause accidents. Girish Kupreti, founder of Road Safety and Fleet Management Institute, feels that a law for pedestrians is a must to avoid such accidents. “We are for any such law. People should understand that being safe is the first and foremost thing that one must keep in mind while on the road,” he says, adding, “One must be fined for this, as it can be dangerous for others travelling on the road as well.”
An international menace? Listening to music on earphones while on the road is recognised as a major threat on the roads in the US, Australia and other countries, perhaps second only to using the cellphone while driving. In fact, in the US, legislators have been attempting to introduce laws banning the use of headphones while walking for some time now. However, no law has been passed so far.