While there isn’t a federal law specifically prohibiting the use of headphones or earbuds while driving, the legality of this practice can vary significantly from state to state. Some states outright ban the use of headphones while driving, with a few exceptions for certain types of earbuds or for single-ear headsets. Other states have more lenient regulations or no specific laws on the matter. Therefore, it is essential for drivers to familiarize themselves with their local and state laws regarding the use of headphones while operating a vehicle.
The states that do not allow you to drive with headphones while driving are: California, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington. However, there are some exceptions within these states for certain drivers (e.g., emergency services personnel). Further, the laws regarding headphone usage are rapidly evolving, so it is important to check the specifics of each state’s law.
Several states have laws prohibiting the use of headphones while driving, but there are specific exceptions to these rules. Here are some of those exceptions:
It is essential to remember that these rules can be subject to change. You should always consult your state’s specific laws or regulations related to driving with headphones or earbuds. See the table below with links to each state’s laws before you drive with headphones.
In some states, there are currently no specific laws against wearing headphones or earbuds while driving. This does not necessarily mean it’s safe or recommended to drive with headphones; rather, it simply hasn’t been explicitly outlawed.
The states where it is legal to wear headphones while driving are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Even if it’s not illegal, wearing headphones while driving can be a distraction. Furthermore, laws are subject to change, and while these states might not have specific restrictions now, they may in the future. Always stay updated with your local and state laws before taking a drive with headphones.
Driving with headphones or earbuds can be a hazardous practice, primarily due to the potential distractions and the diminished ability to perceive important auditory signals from the environment. Here are some key reasons why it’s dangerous to drive with headphones:
Even if it’s legal to drive with headphones in your state, consider the risks. It’s always safer to keep your auditory senses fully available when you’re behind the wheel.
If you find yourself in a collision with a driver who was wearing headphones, here are some steps you should take:
Remember, every accident is unique, and this is a general guide. Always consult with a professional to understand your best course of action regarding what to do after an accident.
At Thompson Law, we understand the complexities of dealing with traffic accidents, especially when they involve drivers distracted by headphones. If you’ve been hit by a driver wearing headphones and have sustained injuries, we’re here to provide you with support every step of the way. We offer FREE CONSULTATIONS, giving you the opportunity to discuss your case with an experienced attorney without worrying about the cost.
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The following table provides a comprehensive overview of the legal status of driving with headphones in every state in the United States, including exceptions and links to related statutes.
|State||Driving with Headphones: Legal or Illegal||If Illegal, are there any exceptions?||Statutes for States Where Headphone Use is Illegal|
|Alaska||Illegal||When used to improve driver’s hearing ability or for GPS||Alaska Stat. § 13.04.260|
|Arizona||Legal||Ariz. Stat. § 28-914|
|California||Illegal||No||Cal. Veh. Code § 27400|
|Colorado||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||C.R.S. § 42-4-1411|
|Florida||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||F.S.A. § 316.304|
|Georgia||Illegal||One earbud is permitted for calls only||O.C.G.A. § 40-6-250|
|Illinois||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||625 I.L.C.S. § 5/12/610|
|Louisiana||Illegal||No||La. R.S. § 32:295.2|
|Maryland||Illegal||No||Md. Code, Trans. Law § 21-1120|
|Massachusetts||Illegal||One earbud is permitted for GPS use||Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 90 § 13|
|Minnesota||Illegal||No||M.S.A. § 169.471|
|New York||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 375-24a|
|Ohio||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.84|
|Pennsylvania||Illegal||One earbud is permitted for calls only||75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3314|
|Rhode Island||Illegal||One earbud is permitted for calls only||R.I.G.L. § 31-22-30|
|Virginia||Illegal||No||Va. St. § 46.2-1078|
|Washington||Illegal||No||R.C.W.A. § 46.37.480|
|Washington D.C.||Illegal||Only one earbud is permitted||DC Code § 50-1731.04|
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