Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones While Driving Article Graphic

Driving while listening to the radio is standard for most drivers, but some drivers use earbuds, headphones or headsets to listen to audio devices or make phone calls in the car.

Earbuds, headphones and headsets can obstruct a driver’s hearing and increase the risk of an accident. As a result, some states have made it illegal to drive with headphones, while others still allow it.

Where Is It Illegal to Drive With Headphones?

As of July 2022, the majority of states still allow people to drive while wearing headphones, headsets and earbuds and have no restrictions or laws regarding their use while driving.

Nine states completely prohibit the use of driving with headphones. These states include Alaska, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.

Another eight states have made it illegal to drive while wearing headphones, but Bluetooth and other hands-free listening devices are permitted if they only obstruct one ear. These states include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

All other states, including Iowa and Wisconsin, do not prohibit driving with headphones.

However, even though driving with headphones is legal in most states, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe.

Driving With Headphones Can be Dangerous

Earbuds and Bluetooth devices can obstruct a driver’s hearing and interfere with their ability to perceive danger and prevent car accidents. While these hands-free devices allow drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road, motorists may still be distracted by what they are hearing in both ears and may not:

  • Hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle approaching.

  • Notice a crash happening near them.

  • Observe the warning horns of other vehicles.

  • Concentrate on the road.

Bicyclists and pedestrians should also think twice before traveling with earbuds or headphones that prevent them from hearing the environment around them. 

What to Do if You’re Hurt in a Crash With a Driver Who Was Wearing Headphones

The other driver’s use of headphones while driving could be relevant to your car accident recovery. Accordingly, you should make a note of it at the accident scene and mention it to your experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Your accident attorney can investigate the cause of your crash and determine if the driver wearing the earbuds or headset was distracted at the time of the crash. Then, your lawyer can help you make a fair recovery for your past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain, suffering and other accident damages.

Injured in an Accident?

In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one has been involved in a crash with a driver who was wearing a headset in Wisconsin, Iowa or Illinois, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham for a free consultation at 800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us anytime at For more information and resources, visit our website and our Facebook page.


Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham