Driving With Headphones (Legality To Wearing on the Road)




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Everyone has been on a long ride, and we all know how boring it can be. To make the ride less boring, we may want to listen to some sweet songs while we drive. But, you have heard on the grapevine that people have been pulled over for wearing headphones while driving. So, can you use headphones while driving?

In short, the answer varies from state-by-state law. Some states have no restrictions, whereas others allow drivers to wear headsets under some conditions. Even though it is legal, staying on your headsets will raise the chances of causing road accidents. With a lack of focus and hearing, the risks are higher for you to crash, which is why it is deemed unsafe.

So, is there more you should know? Yes, there is! For a driver to wear headsets, it also depends on which state you are currently passing through. Or what is the purpose behind using them? Without further ado, dive right in because we are going to dig deeper into this topic. 

Can You Face Legal Problems If You Wear Headphones While Driving?

According to The News Wheel, it is legal in most states because they have no rules to stop drivers from using headphones. However, about nine states take it as an offense and danger to the public.

On the other hand, only a few states consider it illegal only with a couple of exceptions. The exceptional conditions depend on the purpose for which you need to put them on.

Though it is unproven, some police officers may believe using headphones will make you lose control over the wheel. So, you are likely to get a ticket because they might look at it as an offense.

You may even receive a ticket because some officers believe even a slight distraction could make a driver cause an accident.

Therefore, if you face these types of offenses, remember it is best to cross the line of caution and avoid wearing any headsets at all times. When it comes down to these types of violations, cops do not usually bat an eye before writing you up a ticket.

Even if there are no legal restrictions on driving with headsets on, your safest bet as a driver is to maintain focus while driving at all costs. Unless you think it can cause a distraction, avoid putting on any headsets. Instead, try switching on your car radio or music stereo.

Why Is It Illegal To Drive While Wearing Headphones?

It is pretty obvious that the hands-free mobile phone law has been a huge step towards decreasing accidents. But, we all know how accidents happen every single day due to reckless driving. However, distracted driving is still a concern in the United States.

According to some states, the number of traffic deaths has grown. Hence, phone and headset distraction is still a significant cause of the rising number of accidents.

Severe Injuries From A Distracted Driving Accident

It could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars for damages caused by reckless driving. However, you cannot bring someone back, no matter how much you are willing to pay.

Even if someone does manage to survive, they could end up with a permanent disability. The majority of cases require more than a million dollars to treat.

The accidents could cause a number of severe injuries, including:

  • Broken bones and possible fractures.
  • A back and spinal cord injury may possibly end in paralysis.
  • Neck injuries, sometimes leading to whiplash.
  • Leaving scars on the body or deformity on a large scale.
  • Several types of trauma and brain injuries.
  • Limb loss and dislocation of any part.
  • Internal organ, bleeding, damage, or failure.
  • Death.

Using Headphones While Driving Is Unsafe

Wireless earbuds or headsets can act like the devil in the ears of a driver. It blocks their hearing from the outside world, making it difficult for them to spot any risks and avoid accidents.

While these advanced hand-free gadgets have made life simpler, it still has a negative impact. It may allow drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road. But, what they hear in both ears may distract them from the following things:

  • Nearby car crashes.
  • To have complete focus on the road.
  • The warning horns honk from other vehicles.
  • The sirens of approaching emergency ambulances, buses, or trucks.

Therefore, it is best to avoid headphones behind the wheel as much as possible. By doing so, you are not only protecting yourself but also others.

Even if you want to put on a pair of headphones, it is better you make sure the volume level is low enough. Remember to keep your focus on the road while you listen.

Maintaining caution is in your best interest to help you prove that even if you were listening to your headphones, you had complete control of the wheel. If you do end up causing an accident, bear in mind you are not immediately responsible for your actions.

Therefore, it is better for you to consult with a traffic accident lawyer to help you protect and stay within your rights and limits. 

States Where Driving With Headphones Is Legal

As you may guess, the United States law varies from one state to another. However, only a few states legally restrict drivers from using earbuds, headphones, or any headsets while on the road. It is not about whether driving using headphones is a good idea as it simply means you are not breaking any laws.

Most regions do not seem to have any legal restrictions. However, there are some areas where it is illegal with a few exceptions.

Without breaking any laws, you can currently drive while using your headsets in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Here, in the following states, you may wear headsets while driving except for some conditions:

  • Arizona – It is a restriction for only a child caretaker or a school bus driver.
  • Colorado – Illegal unless you are taking calls in one ear and remaining focused.
  • Florida – Same as Colorado, you are permitted if you only take calls in one ear.
  • Georgia – You are not permitted to use any wireless devices unless you are receiving calls on your mobile phone.
  • Illinois – It is an offense unless you listen to your headset with one ear.
  • Massachusetts – it is legal as long as you use it for navigation.
  • New York – It is an offense unless only one of your ears is in use.
  • Pennsylvania – It is restricted unless you use it only to take calls from your mobile phone.


Although there is no current rule to ban drivers from using headphones while on the road, officers can still charge you for being a distracted driver. We all know it is fun and games until you get distracted and cause an accident. It is best if you give your all in order to avoid any road hazards.

So, can you use headphones while driving? If you were looking for a safe way to listen to your headphones while on a road trip, we hope this article has mentioned everything you needed to know. As always, thank you for reading, and drive safe!

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