Is it Illegal to Drive With Headphones On?

Bianca Rodriguez
3 min readJul 6, 2022

Listening to your favorite songs while driving is perfectly legal even if you are listening at the full volume of your car’s loudspeakers. But is it illegal to put headphones or earbuds on during driving? Let’s learn it below:

There is no federal rule about putting headphones on during driving. It depends on the state in which you are living. It is important to ask your legal advisor about any legal issue or you may also consult vqn law firm for legal and financial advice.

Since there is no federal policy about the legality of putting on headphones or earbuds during driving, it depends on where you are driving. Different states have different guidelines, let’s have a quick summary below:

Where Is Wearing Headphones Illegal?

There are many states in the USA where it is completely illegal to wear any sort of headphones while you are driving a motor car: Those states are:

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

It is highly possible that you may be charged with distracted driving or negligent driving if you are driving with headphones on. It could lead to even criminal charges if a police officer sees you driving wearing headphones.

Illegal, With Exceptions

While there are states that do not allow you at all to wear headphones during driving, some states allow but with some exceptions.

In Arizona, it is illegal to wear headphones for school bus drivers and people who transport kids to licensed child-care facilities.

Some states make it illegal to drive with headphones in general but with a few exceptions such as:

  • In Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania it is allowed to use headphones or earpieces to receive a phone call in one year.
  • In New York, it is allowed to wear earphones in one ear. Whether or not you are receiving a phone call.
  • Massachusetts state allows its drivers to use headphones only while navigating to the GPS.
  • Talking to a criminal defense attorney in your area is allowed if you are worried about being charged with a violation or a crime. This exception is allowed to protect your rights.

Where Is Wearing Headphones Completely Legal?

According to AAA, around thirty-two states of the USA have no legality to wearing earbuds or headphones, those states are:

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

Ending Notes

The legality of wearing headphones totally depends on the state you are driving in. Some states totally allow driving while headphones, some allow it with a few exceptions, while very few do not allow it at all.

It is important to understand the laws in your state. If you have any queries related to the above article or anything related to law in general, feel free to contact us.



Bianca Rodriguez

Bianca Leon Rodriguez is a freelance writer and author. A self-confessed foodie, her mission is to help new and aspiring bloggers. You can follow her on Twitter