New York: Is It Legal to Drive While Wearing Earbuds?
I’ve seen some weird things while driving, and I’m talking about weird things that other drivers do. Not things like forgetting to signal or cutting someone off, although that’s quite annoying and dangerous. Things like eating something on a plate with a fork. While driving. Or reading a newspaper. I once saw a guy playing violin during stop and go traffic. And I’ve noticed another trend that bothers me.
I have seen, more than a few times, people driving while wearing headphones or earbuds. Isn’t part of safe driving being aware of what is going on around you? I think it would be hard to hear things you may need to hear if you’re wearing something in or over your ears. Things like horns and sirens. Or even something going wrong with your car. Especially with the headphones and earbuds that they make today that cancel out all other noises. And how loud are these people listening to their music? It’s scary. And is it even legal to drive while wearing earbuds or headphones?
I decided to do what I always do. I Googled ‘is it legal to drive while wearing headphones in New York?' And guess what. It’s not. At least not while wearing them on both ears.
According to trafficlawyerny.com, which cites Article 375(24)-a of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, you can not wear headphones while driving, and you’re not allowed to use more than one earbud. In other words, you’re supposed to keep one ear free to listen to what is going on around you. Or you could get hit with a hefty fine.
So all those people you see wearing headphones or both earbuds while driving are breaking the law. At least here in New York State. I think it’s dangerous enough to blast your music so loud that you can’t hear anything else, but wearing headphones or earbuds brings that danger to an even higher level. I agree that music is meant to be heard, but not when it costs us our safety.