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Is It Illegal to Drive with Headphones in Texas? Or Just Unsafe?

White earphones

Listening to music while driving is a favorite pastime for practically every driver. Some people really want to hear their playlist and nothing else, though, so they put on headphones or pop in earbuds when they’re behind the wheel. Is this a good idea? Is it unsafe and illegal? There are little nuances to the answer that depend on where you live.

Here in Texas, it is not illegal to drive while wearing headphones or using earbuds. There is no rule of the road or local law that says you can’t put on headphones when driving. However, you can’t engage in any activity that is distracting or takes your hands off the wheel, so you shouldn’t put on headphones and then continually adjust them or change the volume.

Additionally, you can receive a citation for driving with headphones on. How? Texas’s broad rules for reckless driving citations allow it. If a traffic enforcement officer sees you driving unsafely and notices you have headphones on when they pull you over, then they could attribute your erratic driving to the headphones drowning out the typical traffic sounds. In this situation, you could technically get in some legal trouble because you put on headphones while driving. Although, the citation would probably not specifically mention the use of headphones or earbuds.

Is Using Headphones While Driving Unsafe?

Driving while wearing headphones might be legal in practically all states, cities, and counties, but that doesn’t mean it is the safest decision. Whether you live in Texas or clear across the country, it can be unsafe to drive while wearing headphones.

The sounds of traffic might not be the most enjoyable thing to hear, especially if you grew up away from a city or highway. But traffic noises can be the first warning you get that something is wrong and that you need to pay attention. For example, the sirens on an ambulance tell you to pull over to a safe location well before you can see the emergency vehicle most of the time. Or you might hear a driver swerving toward your lane seconds before they get into your line of sight, giving you precious seconds to maneuver safely out of the way.

If you want to drive as safely and responsibly as you can to avoid car accidents, then you should leave the headphones off and the earbuds out. Use your vehicle’s included speakers and set them to a reasonable volume. If you ride a motorcycle and have a helmet with built-in speakers, then choosing a low volume is even more important if you want to keep out of motorcycle accidents.

Our team from the Law Offices of Vic Feazell, P.C. wishes you the best and safest travels whenever you are on the road. For more safety information, useful tips, and other helpful news, please be sure to visit our blog often.