Dubai: The Sydney Morning Herald has identified what it says is a new phenomenon directly connected to the use of Apple's iPod portable music player.
The syndrome, called "iPod zombie trance", apparently occurs when people listen to their mobile devices while walking, driving or pedalling around, and causes traffic fatalities and severe accidents, the paper claims.
"‘Death by iPod' is being blamed as a contributing factor to the 25 per cent rise in the number of pedestrian fatalities in New South Wales," the paper wrote. One recent case involved a woman listening to music over the iPod headphones who was knocked down and killed by an ambulance she did not hear approaching despite the fact its sirens were on.
NSW police said they would crack down on iPod-wearing pedestrians, pledging to dole out A$100 fines or prosecute if they are the cause of traffic accidents.
The "iPod zombie trance" is also being blamed for an increase in collisions and even deaths in Europe and the US. The UK Automotive Association has already expressed its concerns. "We can't stop the march of technology but we need to halt the ‘iPod pedestrian, cycle and driver zombies'. Whether on two feet, two wheels or four, too many people are suffering from so-called ‘iPod oblivion'," AA president Edmund King told the London Inquirer.
Apple has not commented.