Young woman wearing headphones while driving. Can you drive with headphones?

Driving while listening to the radio is normal for most drivers, but many other drivers choose to utilize earbuds and headsets to listen to audio devices or make phone calls in the car. However, this becomes a problem when headphones obstruct the driver’s hearing, increasing the risk of an accident. So considering the risk, is it illegal to drive to drive with headphones?

The answer depends on the state you’re driving in.

Where Is It Illegal To Drive With Headphones?

Currently, it is completely illegal for drivers to wear headphones while driving in Colorado, Maryland, Louisiana and Rhode Island. It is legal in most other states, with various exceptions in 14 others. These exceptions include Illinois, where it is illegal to wear headphones or earbuds while driving, but Bluetooth and other hands-free listening devices are permitted if they only obstruct one ear.

But, even though driving with headphones is legal in most states (in some form,) it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe.

Why Choose to Drive Without Headphones?

While headphones and Bluetooth devices are technically “hands-free,” obstructing your hearing in any way takes away from your ability to perceive danger and prevent accidents. A majority of accidents are caused by distracted driving, which is what happens when you allow your mind to focus on anything other than driving. Using most audio devices, especially those meant to cancel out noise, can be a considerable distraction.

When listening to headphones in both ears:

  • You may not hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle approaching.
  • You may not hear a crash happening ahead of you.
  • You may not be able to fully concentrate on the road.

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

If you’ve been injured in a car accident due a driver who was distracted by headphones while behind the wheel, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.  Contact us online or call us directly at 800.800.5678 Hupy to find out if you could receive compensation, or you can start a live chat anytime. 
Jill Erin Wellskopf
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Director of Marketing, Hupy and Abraham