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Listening To Earphones While Driving: Virginia Law & Other Considerations

Is it legal to wear headphones while driving in Virginia? And is it safe to do so? Let’s take a closer look at the consequences and dangers of wearing ear buds while driving.

According to Virginia law, “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on or in both ears.” However, it is legal to wear one ear bud in one ear but not in the other.

There are a few exceptions to this law:

•    Those who have hearing aides due to hearing difficulties are allowed to wear devices in both ears.
•    Those who ride motorcycles and wear helmets containing sound systems are allowed to listen to music or communications.
•    Those driving heavy commercial vehicles are allowed to wear noise-cancelation devices designed to enhance and protect hearing.
•    Those who are driving an emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance or fire truck, are allowed to wear headphones or ear buds.

Why is this law in place? Very simply, wearing headphones on both ears while operating a car, truck, or bicycle takes away an important sense often used to prevent accidents: your sense of hearing. If you are wearing headphone, you may not hear the sirens of an emergency vehicle approaching or a crash happening just ahead of you on the highway. Listening to headphones in both ears also generally distracts you from the road – your mind might be concentrating on what you are hearing instead of what you are doing. On the other hand, driving with one ear bud in still allows you to hear what is going on in your environment and to concentrate more fully on the road.

Have you been injured in a car accident in which the at-fault party was wearing headphones or ear buds while behind the wheel or on his bike? Speak with a Virginia personal injury attorney today to find out if you could deserve compensation.
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