Fifteen-year-old Katie Littlewood, who died after being hit by a train on a level crossing, was killed because she was listening to music and not paying attention to the risks around her, police have said.

Katie was struck by a train as she walked along a footpath crossing near Cannons Close in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.

It is believed she did not hear the train coming or the warning buzzer at the crossing as she was wearing her headphones and listening to music.

She is the fifth person to be killed at a crossing in the area in a decade.

Local safety campaigner Elaine Dawson, 69, said: "If young people are listening to Walkmans or have a phone to their ear they don't pay attention to the signals, so we have to protect them. It's a dangerous crossing and we have campaigned for a bridge to be built."

Katie's death echoes previous incidents where people have been killed because they have been too distracted by music on their headphones to pay attention to their dangerous surroundings.

In 2008, 17-year-old Abigail Haythorne of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, died of severe head injuries after she cycled into the path on an oncoming car. She was listening to an mp3 player at the time.

Youth for Road Safety launched a campaign in 2009 called Tune into Traffic. It warned: "Your earphones could kill you."

The AA claimed that pedestrian inattention could be the cause of 17 accidents every day. AA Insurance said there had been a five percent increase in these type of accidents over the last year.

"AA patrols have noted a marked increase in the number of pedestrians and joggers oblivious to traffic around them as they cross busy roads," the association said.

"It is thought that pedestrians' lack of attention may be a factor in some of the 500 pedestrian deaths or 26,887 pedestrian casualties last year."

New York police have threatened pedestrians with fines if they cross the street while using an iPod, mobile phone or any other headphone device.

In Australia, Sydney police launched a graphic campaign warning pedestrians and cyclists against inattention on the roads.

Campaign released by The Sydney and the NSW Police Department. (NSW Polce)
Shocking images in safety campaign by Australian police (NSW Polce) NSW Police