Driving With Headphones: Is It Illegal In My State?

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in (your State)

Perhaps you have engaged in driving with headphones or you have seen other people driving with headphone. The question is, is it illegal to drive with headphones? This is what you should know about driving with headphones in several States.

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in? No, in some few States, and Yes in other States. It depends with where you are living. State laws vary on the legality of driving with headphones in.

In all States, no law prohibits wearing headphones as a hearing aid but wearing headphones as part of luxury is prohibited in some States and allowed in some States in USA with restrictions.

Despite you being free to connect your headphones, earphones, or whichever headset you have to listen to audio or a recording while driving in the States that legalize the act, you can still land in problems.

In the event luck is not on your side and you end up causing or contributing to the occurrence of an accident, while driving with headphones you will be in big trouble.

Wearing headphones becomes problematic since you will be considered to be a reckless driver, who out of negligence, engaged in dangerous driving. Dangerous driving of any form is punishable by law.

Driving With Headphones Is Prohibited In These States

Driving with headphones, headsets, earphones, earbuds, or hearing aids

The following States have strict laws concerning wearing of headphones while driving. It is illegal to drive with headphones in this State only with the exception that the headphones is part of a hearing aid for a driver.

  • Rhode Island
  • Ohio
  • Maryland
  • Loisiana

No Prohibition To Driving With Headphones In These States

Alabama Arkansas Connecticut Delaware Washington, D.C Hawaii Idaho Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maine  Michigan Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico North Carolina North Dakota  Oklahoma South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
These States Allow Driving With Headphones

States With Conditions About Driving With Headphones

Washington State

  • Driving a motorcycle with in build headsets in the helmets is legal as long as it is hands free
  • Driving a vehicle in which headphones or earphones are connected to receive a sound recording or radio broadcast is illegal
  • Hearing aids allowed


  • Only hearing aids headsets for drivers of either vehicles, motorcycle, or bicycles is legal


  • Driving with any types of earphones or headphones is illegal except when the device is used as a hearing aid.


  • Driving with headphones or earphones as hearing aids is permitted
  • Driving with radio headsets is legal with a few local exceptions

New York

  • It is illegal to wear more than one earphone connected to an audio device when driving
  • Hearing aids are legal


  • Headphones or earphones covering both ears to listen to an audio while driving is illegal.
  • Use of hearing aids is legal


  • No headphones is permitted while driving
  • Only headphones worn as hearing aids is legal


  • Driving with cellular phone earpieces is legal
  • Driving with in-built headsets in motocycle helmets is legal
  • Driving with single-sided headsets is legal
  • Driving with headset receivers is illegal
  • Hearing aids is legal


  • Driving with headphones or any form of headset for purposes of enhancing hearing is legal
  • Driving with headphones or earphones that can act as a distractor to hearing, vision, or communication is illegal


  • Only hearing aids are allowed while driving
  • One ear only to wear an earphone when in need to communicate during an operation


  • Headphones, earphones, and any other headset is illegal to wear while driving except when used for hearing aid where only one ear is to be used.


  • Only hearing aid headsets are permitted to be worn while driving


  • It is illegal to wear audio headphones in any moving vehicle, bicycle, or motorcycle
  • Hearing aids are allowed


  • Headsets can be worn when driving only for purposes of hearing aid.

Reasons Why Driving With Headphones Is Illegal In Some States

I know most people who are comfortable and can multitask on the road when driving with headphones without creating a scene. However, wearing a headset that completely covers your ears thus hindering you from hearing what is happening in the outside environment can be dangerous.

Safe driving entails listening to the surrounding including sirens, train whistles, screeching tires, horns, or any form of noise that can catch your attention.

While blocking your ears, you completely seclude yourself from the real world and you can end up in a problem for ignoring some key alarm.

Driving With Headphones Can Make You Not

  • Hear sirens, say from ambulance, firefighters, or any emergency vehicle and you can end up blocking the way
  • Hear a crash, screaming, or any alarming noises that needs you to take an action
  • Wholly concentrate with driving and you can easily be carried away by the sweet music or recording you are listening to.

Penalty For Dangerous Driving With Headphones

Reckless driving is punishable by law. In the instance it is proven beyond measure that your headset was the main cause of the accident you are likely to face the following charges. The charges depends on State laws and severity of the accident:

  • Penalty fee; In California you can be fined $197.00
  • Points Off your driving record: in California, your bad record will be forwarded to your insurer who will increase your overall insurance cost for several years
  • Severe damages can result in license revoking or even a jail term

In case you engage in an accident and you are wearing your headphones, be careful of what you say. More often, it may or may not be your fault with or without the headphones. Make use of an attorney to help you get out of the mess.

Attorneys Help Can Be More Helpful If

  • You fall under exception such as wearing headphones as hearing aids
  • You were using one ear linked to a headphone on a moderate volume
  • Both ears were in headphones but no audio was being transmitted
  • Records by witness, photographs or surveillance video are in your favor

How To Safely Drive With Headphones In

Headphones worn for purposes of luxury and not as hearing aids while driving should only be worn on one ear. Make use of a single earbud on one ear, do not cover your two ears.

Be sure that the audio volume is moderate to low enough such that even an external sound such as a car hooting can easily catch your attention.

Also, be on the lookout of how the outside environment is once in a while from your mirrors without getting distracted. Having a clear visual and sounds of the environment while on a road trip enhances your safety and the safety of others.


Frequently Asked Questions

For more information concerning the legality of this States in the question, revisit the above discussion for better understanding.

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Texas? No

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Ohio? Yes

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Nevada? No

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Kansas? No

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Georgia? Yes

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Florida? Yes

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in California? Yes

Is it illegal to drive with headphones in Tennessee? No


Is it illegal to drive with headphones in your State can vary based. State laws vary. However, in all the States is legal to wear headsets, earbuds, earphones, or headphones for purposes of hearing aid only. In case of communication, some States such as Florida allow only the use of one ear connected to an earphone. Be sure to know your specific State laws. The article is for information purposes and cannot be used for legal purposes. Consult an attorney if need be.

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