Friday, April 27, 2012

Viz: Is it Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving?


Ever Wonder If It's Actually Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving? You know you're supposed to go hands-free with your phone in the car, but did you know in some states it's illegal to wear headphones when you're driving? Is your state one of those? We teamed up with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to get to the bottom of the issue. Find out where you can rock out while you drive and where you should make sure your earbuds are out before you head down the highway.

It's not exclusively a hands-free phone issue, of course. You may also have wondered if you can wear headphones and listen to music while driving—maybe because your radio was broken, or you wanted to listen to something on your phone but had no way to hook it up to your speakers, or maybe because you saw someone else driving with earbuds in and wondered "Hey, is that legal?!"

In some states, wearing headphones is perfectly legal; in others, it's 100% illegal; and in many states, the law is a little less clear cut—for example, in some states it's only legal to wear headphones in one ear, but not two.

Click your state on the interactive map below to see what the law says where you live.

Is It Legal to Wear Headphones While Driving?

      Mostly legal          Mostly illegal          It's complicated

Ever Wonder If It's Actually Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving?

Click on any state for details

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Many thanks to the AAA for their help with this post. They point out—and we agree—that regardless of the legality of wearing headphones in your state, listening to music on headphones while driving is a distraction, and can impair your ability to hear the sirens from emergency vehicles nearby and other important traffic sounds that would be audible if you were only listening to the radio. They point out that a headphone cable across your lap could become tangled and present a steering hazard. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you take the law, your safety, and the safety of others on the road into account first.

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