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Legal Blog

Wearing Headphones While Driving

Published: Jan 30, 2019 in Auto Accident, Personal Injury

St. Clair County car wreck lawyers represent victims injured in car accidents.Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving is an extremely dangerous activity.  What many of us do not know is that wearing headphones, ear buds, or wireless listening devices are as dangerous as texting while driving. In fact, these trendy listening devices are putting drivers and those on the road at risk for a serious or fatal car accident.

A person that is listening to music and other entertainment through headphones or ear buds is distracting themselves from the task of driving. Cognitive distraction and sensory deprivation occur when the mind is focused on music or audio being piped directly into their ears.

Car radios and infotainment systems are common in modern vehicles, but the new trend of wearing assisted hearing devices to listen to music more directly when driving is a new phenomenon. Drivers that wear headphones over both ears or insert ear buds and other Bluetooth wireless listening devices into both ears are experiencing a new level of distraction, as all peripheral noise and outside sounds are eliminated.

AAA studies have shown that these types of listening devices create a closed-off world where drivers become unaware of other drivers on the road. Cars that beep their horn to alert a driver of a possible collision, and fire truck, police vehicles, and ambulance sirens are muted when drivers wear appliances over or in their ears. The risk of getting into a car accident is significantly increased with these behaviors.

Laws Against Wearing Headphones While Driving

According to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws, there are currently 14 states that have implemented legal restrictions for wearing headphones while driving. Four states have complete bans on wearing the devices while driving. A common exception to the law is for those who are hearing impaired. It is permissible for a person that wears hearing aides that are connected to Bluetooth devices to drive with them connected to the sound source.

Police officers and emergency technicians are also exempt from the laws regarding headphones and ear buds. When information needs to be transmitted to these officers and technicians, they typically use wireless Bluetooth devices.  These hearing devices will continue to be permitted.

Accidents Caused by Drivers with Headphones

Distracted driving of any kind leads to serious and often fatal car accidents.  Drivers that cause an accident because they were wearing headphones or ear buds can be charged with distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distracted driving is responsible for 10 percent of all fatal car accidents, and 18 percent of all car accidents resulting in injury. Eight people are fatally injured in distracting driving accidents each day in the United States.

In a study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, researchers found that the number of serious pedestrian injuries has increased dramatically over the past six years. One hundred and sixteen pedestrians were fatally injured over that six-year period from accidents directly related to wearing headphones while driving.

St. Clair County Car Wreck Lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the St. Clair County car wreck lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC today at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Our Swansea, Illinois office serves clients from the surrounding areas, including those in Edwardsville, St. Clair County, and Belleville.