Is it Illegal to Wear Headphones While Driving on Texas Roads?
A good driver gives 100% of their focus and attention to the task at hand – traversing Texas roads safely. Safe driving means keeping your hands on the steering wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on your driving, but no one ever talks about the driver’s ears. Did you know that roads are full of sounds that help drivers make timely, safe decisions? Police sirens, car horns, and other telltale sounds that warn of coming situations can provide insight right when it’s needed, yet it is not illegal to wear headphones.
Texas Law Does Not Prohibit Wearing Headphones While Driving:
While Texas law does not prohibit wearing headphones while driving, that doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Just because something is legal does not mean it is safe behavior. Drivers can still find themselves in legal trouble for wearing headphones while driving in Texas, even though no laws prevent it. In some instances, officers can cite drivers for dangerous driving due to wearing headphones or listening to music too loudly.
What is Dangerous Driving?
According to Texas Transportation Code Section 545.401, dangerous driving is a willful or wanton disregard for others’ safety. Since driving with headphones can prevent a driver from paying enough attention to the road, it may be seen as dangerous driving. Headphones or loud music can block out critical surrounding noises and increase the risk of car accidents and related injuries, potentially leaving the driver guilty of wanton disregard for others’ safety on the road.
Is Wearing Headphones a Form of Distracted Driving?
We’ve all heard discussions about distracted driving and how frequently it causes problems on Texas roads, but does wearing headphones qualify? As previously discussed, music or podcasts, etc. playing on the driver’s headphones can effectively block out noises relevant to driving, and make it difficult for the driver to give the road their full attention or focus. Generally speaking, Texas distracted driving laws apply to cell phones, but they can extend to other forms of driver distraction depending on the case. Other examples of distracted driving may include: personal grooming, chatting, eating or drinking, or listening to headphones.
Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving:
- Wearing headphones while driving poses several dangers that drivers should be aware of before deciding they aren’t a distraction.
- You can’t hear cars honking.
- You can’t hear people shouting.
- You can’t hear emergency vehicle sirens.
Since drivers can’t hear these audio clues when they’re wearing headphones, they often display delayed reaction times that result in a higher risk of accidents and collisions.
Does Wearing Headphones While Driving Affect Your Personal Injury Case?
If you are in a Texas car accident and you were wearing headphones at the time of the collision, the other driver could use it against you and attempt to assign you fault for the accident. If you are determined at fault for the car accident, you will likely be left liable for damages and injuries.
If you are in a car accident and you or the other driver was wearing headphones, don’t waste any time. Get in touch with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney at Hudson Law. We can help you navigate the process to defend your legal rights and protect your financial and medical interests. We put Personal back into Personal Injury Law.