Many people enjoy listening to music and podcasts or having a conversation with family and friends while driving. But can you drive with headphones? Is it illegal to wear headphones while driving?
Each state sets its own traffic laws and rules of the road. All states have cracked down on distracted and dangerous driving over the past few decades, particularly as applied to the use of electronic devices while driving. Over a dozen states strictly prohibit wearing headphones or earbuds while driving. If you are driving on the great roads of Texas, you may be wondering: Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Texas?
What Are the Laws in Texas?
You may be surprised to find out that wearing headphones while driving in Texas is technically legal. The Texas statutes that apply to the road do not specifically outlaw wearing headphones while you are operating a car. However, there are various statutes in the Texas code that deal with dangerous and distracted driving, which may affect you if you are wearing your headphones in an irresponsible manner.
Dangerous driving laws in Texas apply when you drive in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other people or property. If you are ticketed for dangerous driving, you may need to pay a fine of up to $200 and may even face up to 30 days in jail as punishment. And if wearing headphones or earbuds causes you to take your attention away from the road, that may be enough to qualify as dangerous driving.
Additionally, Texas has distracted driving laws in place that prohibit certain uses of electronics while driving. Although the law is geared towards the prevention of sending or receiving text messages while driving, it can also be applied to other electronics, such as wearing headphones, if they cause you to be distracted from your responsibilities of safety on the road. And wearing headphones can be a major distraction—in fact, a recent study undertaken by Ford showed that people listening to music via headphones were on average 4.2 seconds slower to identify cues than those without headphones. Though it may not seem like a lot of time, those seconds can make all the difference when you or your rideshare driver are trying to avoid an accident while driving distracted.
Can Wearing Headphones Result in an Accident?
In order to avoid an accident, good drivers know that they need to focus wholly on the road. There are many reasons why wearing headphones while driving is a bad idea and may result in an accident or a traffic ticket. For example:
- You may fail to hear an approaching emergency vehicle, causing you not to yield properly, which may result in a ticket or road violation.
- You may become distracted by the noise from your headphones, which may result in you causing an accident or receiving a ticket for distracted driving.
- You may fail to hear signs of mechanical problems in your vehicle, which may cause an accident if your vehicle stops working properly.
- Your situational awareness may be affected, causing you not to be able to avoid an accident that otherwise could have been avoided.
- Your reaction times may slow down, making you break traffic laws or cause an accident.
How Can You Recover from Your Injuries If You’re in an Accident with a Driver Wearing Headphones?
If you’ve been in an accident with another driver who was wearing headphones at the time, you may be able to state a claim for negligence and recover for your injuries. To do so, you will have to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care to operate safely on the road, and breached that duty by acting negligently. You will also have to prove that the other driver directly caused your damages and injuries. If the other driver wearing headphones contributed to their distracted or dangerous driving, then you will be able to bring up this important fact in making your negligence case.
Being in a traffic accident with a distracted driver can cause serious injuries, such as personal injuries, damage to your car or other personal property, loss of income, and pain and suffering. A knowledgeable attorney can help weigh your options, discuss your rights, and determine what decisions to make in order to recover financially from your injuries.
How Can FVF Help?
It is important to be educated regarding the use of headphones while driving and the laws involved. If you have been involved in a car accident that was partially caused by wearing headphones, or have questions about this issue, FVF Law is here to discuss your rights and options. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.