Dangers of Driving with Headphones

It’s a common sight nowadays, the use of headphones while driving. Smart devices gave us the ability to listen to our favorite music and podcasts anywhere, anytime, including while driving a motor vehicle. But have you ever stopped to think about the potential dangers of driving with headphones? Headphones can cause a serious accident, or even worse, death.

When a driver is wearing headphones, they may not be able to hear the car horn of another vehicle, emergency sirens, crosswalk alarms, or railroad crossing arms. The decrease in awareness and limited hearing can make a driver cause an accident that severely harms another innocent driver. The American Automobile Association (AAA), has stated that wearing headphones while driving could intensify a person’s sensory deprivation and cognition distraction level. The AAA also added that distracted driving laws have not kept pace with the changing technology and many drivers are clueless what is legal or illegal regarding wearing headphones while operating a vehicle. Distraction caused by the use of electronic devices, whether it be headphones or a cell phone, has been deemed “inattentional blindness.”

A few statistics to be noted when it comes to the dangers of driving with headphones, is that 1out of every 10 deadly car wrecks in the United States involves some sort of distraction. A recent study revealed that approximately eight people are killed every day by distracted driving, and six of those eight are teens. In 2012, a survey found that using portable music players is one of the “most commonly performed potentially distracting behaviors while driving.” And in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that distracted driving was a factor in 18% of all crashes resulting in an injury.

The AAA Digest of Motor Laws revealed that there are 14 states that implement restrictions on wearing earbuds, earplugs, or earphones while driving. Out of those, only four states have complete bans on distracted driving with headphones. This rule, however, is not without exceptions. One exception is if you’re hearing impaired. Unfortunately, as of today, Alabama has no prohibition on wearing headphones, or any type of headset, while driving. In Florida, wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing, is not permitted while driving. Although, wearing a device, such as a Bluetooth earpiece, in one ear for communicating with a central base operation or with a cell phone is permitted. Mississippi, like Alabama, also has no prohibition on the wearing of headsets while driving.

Headphones compromise a person’s ability to drive safely. If you’re injured in an accident where the driver of the other vehicle was wearing headphones, contact the lawyers at Greene & Phillips. We don’t get paid unless we are able to get money for you. You can come by our office anytime at 51 North Florida Street, call us 24/7 at (251) 478-1115, and visit our Car Wreck Page for more information.  Call or come by anytime; you never need an appointment.