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All things fleet tracking – industry news and best practices

Is It Legal to Wear Headphones while Driving?

Posted on 08/30/2013 by AKilgore   |  0 Comments

Is It Legal to Wear Headphones while Driving?

Have you ever pulled up to a stop light, glanced at the driver next to you and noticed that they’re wearing headphones or ear buds? During my daily commute, I’ve noticed dozens of headphone-wearing drivers and each time I see them, I find myself thinking, “That can’t be safe.”

But aside from safety, is it even legal to wear headphones while driving? Currently, most states consider the use of headphones or ear buds legal. California, Colorado, Florida and a few other states have taken action to prohibit the act of wearing headphones. In the state of Georgia, the law pertaining to wearing a device which impairs hearing or vision states:

“No person shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing a headset or headphone which would impair such person’s ability to hear, nor shall any person while operating a motor vehicle wear any device which impairs such person’s vision provided however, that a person may wear a headset or headphone for communication purposes. “

If you reside in a state where the law permits you to use headphones or ear buds while driving, here are a few recommendations, courtesy of Risk Control and Safety Consultant, Michael Nischan:

1. Insert only one ear bud – not both - so the other ear can afford you some level of hearing to improve safety.
2. Keep the volume at a reasonable level.
3. Do not listen to music.
4. Use the device only for communication purposes.
5. Use the device sparingly and for short periods of time when traffic and weather conditions are not as demanding on your mind.

“Regardless of what the laws are wherever you may be driving, remember that the most important task while driving is just that – driving,” said Nischan. “80% of all crashes and 65% of near-collisions occur within three seconds of a driver distraction, so your time behind the wheel is best spent focused on getting there safely.”

For more information about specific state laws on the use of headphones or ear buds, click here.


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