In the United States, some states prohibit the use of headsets or headphones and earbuds when driving, while others do not have a law against it. According to AAA, wearing headphones while driving is legal in Texas, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Initially, there weren’t any laws against texting while driving, but now lawmakers know better.
Wearing earbuds or headphones over one’s ears while driving could be considered “cool,” but they present serious safety concerns – they are a distraction and impair safe driving. As reported by wwww.13abc.com: “Wearing earbuds or headphones, while driving could intensify your sensory deprivation and cognitive distraction level, potentially creating additional dangers on our roadways,” says Cindy Antrican, Public Affairs Manager for AAA.
Why is it dangerous to drive with earbuds or headphones on? Because they are designed to cancel noise out so listeners can hear their music. While this is fine if you’re listening to music with earbuds or headphones while you’re on a bus, cleaning the house, or working on your PC at the office, it is NOT safe while driving on a public roadway.
When driving, it’s critical that you can hear sirens and car horns. If you’re blasting music in your headphones and driving through an intersection as an ambulance is flying through, you probably won’t hear it. This puts you and the occupants in the ambulance at risk of a serious accident.
It’s the same with car horns, which are installed in all vehicles to help prevent accidents. If another driver was trying to alert you with their horn and you don’t hear them, you could find yourself in a preventable crash.
“Wearing earplugs could also increase your risk factor on the road as some models have noise cancellation acoustical technology, which may cause you to miss some important cues for driving safely such as hearing the sirens of approaching emergency service vehicles and other background noises such as horns or rail road [sic] warnings,” according to www.13abc.com.
So, even though Texas has not written any laws against wearing headphones or earbuds while driving, we still don’t recommend it.