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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Is It Legal To Wear Headphones While Driving?

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Can You Drive With Headphones In Your State?The folks at LifeHacker.com and the American Automobile Association (AAA) have answered this question. It depends on where you're driving.

In some states, there is no law at all against wearing headphones while driving a vehicle. In other states, it's against the law to wear headphones of any sort. In the rest of the states, it can get a little complicated.

LifeHacker.com and AAA have put together some information to help drivers figure out where they can, cannot, or sometimes can wear head sets while driving.

This graphic from LifeHacker will help you sort out the states' different rules:

LifeHacker.com - Where is it legal to drive while wearing headphones?
Image Source: LifeHacker.com

Our practice is nation-wide and I'm often traveling in other states. This map makes it easier to determine in which states drivers can, cannot, or maybe can wear headphones while driving. In the green states, like Missouri where we have offices, there are no restrictions against driving with headphones. In red states, it is illegal to wear head sets while driving (with the exception of a few very limited circumstances).

In the black states – including Illinois, where we also have an office – the answer in more complicated:

Illinois – Illegal to wear headphones or ear buds while driving. Bluetooth head sets are permitted, but only in one ear.

Washington / Virginia – Illegal to wear headphones or ear buds while driving, unless the headphones are built into a helmet or are a Bluetooth head set.

Oregon – It is generally legal to wear headphones or ear buds while driving, but there may be local or county ordinances that make doing so illegal.

California / Minnesota / Florida / Ohio / Pennsylvania / New York – It is illegal to wear headphones or ear buds in both ears while driving. Use in one ear is permitted.

Alaska – It is illegal to wear headphones while driving, unless part of a hearing aid, GPS or navigational device.

Georgia – Illegal to wear headphones or ear buds while driving. Bluetooth headsets or other hands-free devices are permitted.

Massachusetts – Illegal to wear headphones while driving, unless used to control the direction or movement of your vehicle.

The primary concerns with headphones and driving involve (1) possible distractions; and (2) inability to hear emergency vehicles and other important traffic noise. If you choose to use head phones while driving, be sure to limit the volume level or take the advice of states like Illinois, California, Florida, etc. and use your head phones in only one ear to permit you to hear the traffic around you.

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