The most well-known (and most dangerous) form of distracted driving is texting and driving. Ever since cell phones became widely used in the early 2000’s, thousands of lives have been lost to texting and driving alone. Because texting and driving comes with such a huge mortality rate, most states have outlawed the dangerous practice. There are other forms of distracted driving that can be equally as dangerous, though, such as wearing headphones while driving. But is it illegal to drive with headphones in Texas? The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean wearing headphones while driving isn’t incredibly dangerous. Below, our legal team discusses why driving with headphones can be so dangerous, which states make it illegal to wear headphones while driving, and whether or not you can sue over this dangerous driving practice.
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident, you have grounds to pursue legal action. The legal team at Janicek Law has the skill and experience necessary to successfully litigate both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims related to motor vehicle accidents. We can help you recover a fair settlement so that you can heal – physically and emotionally – from your accident. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation today.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted or dangerous driving occurs when the driver’s attention is on anything except for the road. There are three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual Distraction occurs when the driver is looking at something other than the road, such as a phone, for example.
- Manual Distraction occurs when the driver takes their hands off the wheel to do something else, like eat or text.
- Cognitive Distraction occurs when a driver’s mind is not focused on the road. They may be daydreaming or thinking about something else.
Texting and driving is one of the most common and most dangerous types of distracted driving because it’s basically a visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. But there are plenty of other types of distractions while driving, such as eating, jamming to loud music on the car stereo, applying makeup, talking on the phone, tending to children or pets in the back seat, and wearing headphones while driving.
How Often Do Distracted Driving Accidents Happen in the U.S.?
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 9 Americans die every day due to distracted driving. In 2019 alone, more than 3,100 Americans died and approximately 424,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents.
Common Injuries From Distracted Driving Accidents
Distracted driving accidents can result in serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries (concussions, subdural hematomas, etc.)
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries
- Nerve damage
- Burns, bruising, road rash, and lacerations
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bones
- Loss of sight and/or hearing
- Loss of fetus
- Wrongful death
If you have suffered any of the aforementioned injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you may have grounds to take legal action. San Antonio car accident lawyers at Janicek Law can help you recover financial compensation from the at-fault driver through a personal injury lawsuit.
Is it Illegal to Drive With Headphones in Texas?
Now back to the main question: is it illegal to drive with headphones in Texas? No, it’s perfectly legal to wear headphones while driving in the Lone Star State, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it.
Wearing headphones while driving is a distracting and dangerous practice. Your vision is the most important sense to utilize while driving, but listening is also important. Wearing headphones while driving will prevent you from hearing sirens from emergency vehicles and police officers driving up behind you in the event of an emergency. So you may not be able to pull off to the side of the road in time. You also won’t be able to hear cars honking around you, which can notify you of any danger on the road. Listening to music or phone calls via earbuds in the car is also a form of cognitive distraction, meaning your mind is not focused on the road. All in all, you have a much higher risk of getting into a car accident if you’re driving with earbuds or headphones.
Other States That Allow Drivers To Wear Headphones While Driving
Texas is not the only state that allows its drivers to wear headphones while driving. In fact, the driving laws in most states allow this dangerous practice. These states are:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States That Outlaw Driving With Headphones
Meanwhile, there are eight states that have made it illegal to wear headphones while driving. These states are:
- Rhode Island
Illegal, But With Exceptions
Many states outlaw wearing headphones while driving, but also provide specific exceptions.
- Only School Bus Drivers Can’t Wear Headphones While Driving: Arizona driving laws state that only school bus drivers (and any other child-care transportation services) can’t wear headphones while driving.
- Using Earbuds to Take a Phone Call in One Ear: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania only allow drivers to use one earbud in the car in order to take a call. That way, they can still hear what’s going on on the road around them through the other ear.
- Using Earbuds in Only One Ear: New York and Ohio driving laws allow drivers to use earbuds in only one ear while driving, regardless of whether or not they’re on the phone. So they can listen to music in only one ear if they want.
- Using Headphones Only For GPS Navigation: Massachusetts allows drivers to use headphones while driving only if they’re listening to GPS navigation.
Can I Sue for Distracted Driving?
Yes, you can definitely sue for distracted driving especially if you (or someone you love) suffers catastrophic injuries or wrongful death. Wearing headphones while operating a motor vehicle may be legal in Texas, but if the driver causes a car accident due to the distraction, the victim can still sue them for damages.
Damages for Distracted Driving
A San Antonio car accident attorney at Janicek Law can help car accident victims recover financial compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitative bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity (if the victim can no longer complete their normal job duties because of their injuries/disabilities)
- Expenses related to necessary medical equipment like walkers, wheelchairs, braces, etc.
- Emotional distress
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring, disfigurement, and/or disability
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses if the car crash resulted in wrongful death
Call San Antonio Car Accident Lawyers at Janicek Law Today
If you or a loved one has suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death due to a distracted driver, you have grounds to take legal action. Driving with headphones may be legal in Texas, but it’s still dangerous and can lead to motor vehicle accidents. Our legal team has more than 25 years of experience in successfully litigating all sorts of personal injury cases, including motor vehicle accident cases. We are the best legal team to have on your side during this impossible time. Call 210-366-4949 to schedule a free consultation today.