Using Headphones While Driving
It may seem safe to assume that using headphones while driving in Texas is illegal, however, Texas does not have laws pertaining to wearing headphones while driving. Drivers can forego headphones altogether, or wear a bud in one ear, or headphones that cover both ears if they so choose. Even though this is legal, it is highly unadvised.
Using Your Senses While Driving
Drivers must rely on their senses while driving. Drivers must be able to detect the smell of gas or oil in case their car has a leak that could be dangerous. They need to rely on their sense of touch when gripping the steering wheel or adjusting the climate in the vehicle. And, perhaps obviously, they need their sense of sight to see potential dangers on the road. Almost as important as the ability to see, drivers need to be able to hear what is going on around them.
There are many sounds drivers should listen for on the road. Drivers should know if another vehicle is honking its horn. They need to be able to hear construction on the road, which signals a need to stop or slow down. Just listening to the sounds of the road can tell a driver how quickly other vehicles are traveling. Most importantly, drivers need to hear when an emergency vehicle is approaching, telling them to pull over to the side of the road to make room.
These sounds can be muffled or completely blocked when a driver is wearing headphones. Due to the importance of hearing the sounds of the road when driving, drivers in Texas should unplug their headphones while driving.
Potential Car Accidents
In addition to keeping themselves and everyone around them safe, there is another very good reason for Texans to not refrain from using headphones while driving. While wearing them may not warrant a ticket, if a driver is wearing headphones and gets into an accident, the other driver may use that as proof that the driver was distracted – even if the headphones were not playing anything at the time. The police and judge may side with that argument and find the driver at fault.
Driving while wearing headphones is not illegal in Texas, but that does not mean doing so is good practice. In fact, it is a very unsafe practice for many different reasons. It is always best to be alert and aware of all your surroundings while driving.