Doomed humming pedestrians listening to their Apple iPods are involved in one in 10 minor accidents involving sudden braking and shunts, according to insurance company figures.

"In many accounts of minor accidents on insurance claim forms, we have seen a significant increase in drivers citing such individuals as having been a factor in the incident," a spokesman for the company said.

The Daily Telegraph reports that over half of the culprits are described as young people, teenagers or children.

The most common scenario involves a "podestrian" stepping into the road without looking properly and failing to see or hear an oncoming vehicle. This forces the unlucky driver to brake suddenly, and therefore be hit by the car behind.

"The problem of music players masking the noise of cars can often be compounded by the simultaneous use of mobile phones," the spokesman said, possibly referring to Apple's iPhone that has iPod functionality. Text messaging is another factor.

In New York lawmakers are trying to ban pedestrians using iPods, Zunes, MP3 players or BlackBerrys when crossing streets in Manhattan. A member of the New York state Senate, Carl Kruger, said anyone plugged in when they are crossing the street should be punished with a US$100 (£58) fine.

See also:

Apple iPhone 3G review

4G iPod nano review

Second-gen iPod touch review