Is It Illegal To Drive With Headphones? Exception & Punishments in 2022

Is It Illegal To Drive With Headphones Exception & Punishments
Despite the many myths and stories out there, it is not illegal to drive with headphones. It is perfectly legal to do so in most states. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. You could face a fine or jail time if caught driving with headphones in one of these states. 

Why Is It Illegal To Wear Headphones While Driving?

Why Is It Not Legal to Drive a Car While Wearing Headphones

Though it may seem like a fun way to listen to music or catch up on a podcast while driving, it is actually against the law in many states to wear headphones while operating a vehicle. This is because it can distract the driver and cause accidents. You could be subject to a fine if you are caught wearing headphones while driving.

Where Is Wearing Headphones Illegal?

Where Is Wearing Headphones Illegal

Wearing headphones while driving a car is unlawful in several places. These are the states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington

You were driving while wearing headphones is punishable by law in several states. If a police officer notices you using headphones, you might be penalized for careless or distracted driving.

Illegal, with exceptions

Illegal, with exceptions

According to AAA, one state, Arizona, makes driving with headphones unlawful exclusively for school bus drivers and anyone who carries children for certified child-care institutions.

Other states make driving with headphones unlawful in general but allow exceptions, such as:

Taking a phone conversation in one ear with headphones or earpieces: This is legal in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Headphones or earbuds in one ear: Can you drive with earbuds? Drivers in New York are permitted to use headphones in one ear, regardless of whether they are making a phone conversation.

Headphones for navigational assistance: It is permissible in Massachusetts to wear headphones while driving, provided the motorist is solely listening to a GPS.

If you are concerned about getting charged with a traffic infraction or a felony, contact a local criminal defense attorney who can answer your questions and help preserve your rights.

Where Is Wearing Headphones Completely Legal?

Where Is Wearing Headphones Completely Legal

According to AAA, thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have no legislation prohibiting headphones or earbuds while driving. These are the states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • The District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • State of New Hampshire
  • State of New Jersey
  • State of New Mexico
  • North Carolina (NC)
  • North Dakota (ND)
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina (SC)
  • Dakota State
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia (WV)
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

The Dangers of Driving With Headphones

Even though it’s legal to drive while using headphones in your area, that doesn’t imply it’s safe. You wearing earbuds while driving headphones might potentially endanger other drivers and passengers.

It is possible to incur a careless or distracted driving charge in states that limit or prohibit driving with headphones. This should make you realize how dangerous driving with headphones is.

You might drive entirely unconscious of essential aural signals such as horns blaring and police and emergency vehicle sirens by restricting your hearing. You’re also considerably more prone to be distracted when driving.

Most importantly, inattentive and unsafe driving can result in fatal vehicle accidents. Distracted driving is responsible for 15% of all traffic accidents. Furthermore, 5.9% of drivers in fatal automobile accidents were preoccupied while driving.

Driving while using headphones, earphones, or earpieces is never a good or safe idea, legal or not. If you don’t have a functional aux cord, play it safe and listen to the radio.

Penalties for driving with headphones

You were driving while using headphones violates distracted driving regulations in numerous places, including Texas. Can you drive while using headphones? Yes, but you’re driving dangerously if you do.

If you’re pulled over

Most distracted driving rules target smartphone usage, although they can apply to any device.

A highway patrolman may pull you over and issue you a $100 penalty or citation. If you violate a traffic offense while using headphones, the punishment might be upgraded to hazardous driving, which carries a $200 fine and 30 days in prison.

If you’re in an accident

If you are involved in an accident while using headphones, the other driver may accuse you of inattentive or risky driving. Texas’ comparative negligence statutes might limit whatever compensation you are entitled to, and it could even result in criminal penalties.

Can you drive while using headphones? Yes, but it’s dangerous and puts you at risk legally.

Laws in the Other States

Laws in the Other States

If you are not from Iowa or Illinois, you may wonder if you may drive while wearing headphones.

The following is a breakdown of the legislation in several states.


Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, 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, and Wyoming do not prohibit the use of headsets.

As you can see, the vast majority of states permit the use of headphones while driving.


You are not authorized to wear headsets in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington.

It’s essential to note that even in jurisdictions where it’s banned, there are frequent exceptions for wearing hearing aid devices, providing protection, and, in certain situations, wearing a device in only one ear rather than both.

There may be exceptions for emergency professionals such as firemen, police officers, and ambulance drivers.


How can I avoid getting a ticket for driving with headphones?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving while wearing headphones in both ears is banned in the United States. You may be punished and fined if you are found driving with headphones in both ears. To prevent a citation for driving while using headphones, wear only one earphone or use an earpiece that goes around your ear rather than within it. It would help if you kept the volume low enough to hear traffic and other sounds around you.

What should I do if I get pulled over for driving with headphones?

If you are stopped for driving while using headphones, you can best cooperate and follow the officer’s directions. If you are requested to show your driver’s license and registration, do it quietly and without making any rapid moves.

If the police order you to get out of the automobile, do so without hesitation. It’s also a good idea to avoid admitting guilt or apologizing, as they might be used against you later. If you get a ticket, you may always fight it in court, but it is preferable to avoid the matter entirely by following the law.

Is there a way to listen to music while driving without breaking the law?

There is no federal legislation forbidding driving while listening to music, but several states and municipalities have passed laws restricting the use of headphones or earbuds while operating a vehicle. In certain circumstances, these restrictions only apply to specific vehicle types, such as school buses. Before wearing headphones or earbuds while driving, always verify the rules in your region.


Thanks for reading this article. It is illegal to drive with headphones in most states. This is because it can be very dangerous to drive while wearing headphones. If you need to use headphones while driving, make sure only to use one earbud so that you can still hear what is happening around you.

Access our website to learn more information. Thank you for taking the time to read

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *