Something I've noticed recently that's been baffling me for a few months:

More and more drivers have been driving with AirPods in their ears, and it makes me question every time: Can they get pulled over for that?

Photo by Filipe Alves on Unsplash
Photo by Filipe Alves on Unsplash
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Not even just with AirPods, but with any other device that goes over your ears, with the exception of hearing aids. Like headphones.

I thought that surely this would fall under the category of distracted driving. After all, you need both your eyes and ears to be aware of what's happening on the roads. You have to be able to hear car horns, police/ambulance sirens, railroad crossing bells, etc.

Photo of driver honking in traffic
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Of course, there are other auditory distractions that are perfectly normal, like listening to music on your car stereo or talking on the phone through Bluetooth audio. But what about auditory distractions that are affixed to our ears?

Is driving with headphones illegal in New Jersey?

Photo by Đức Trịnh on Unsplash
Photo by Đức Trịnh on Unsplash
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Actually, no. It's not!

According to Grungo Law, the use of headphones while driving in New Jersey is legal because they are considered hands-free devices.

However, just because you won't get pulled over for it, it can still be dangerous. 

Doing this can be considered distracted driving, even if it's hands-free. And if you've caused an accident because of distracted driving, you can be financially liable:

"When a driver causes (or contributes to causing) an accident because he or she is distracted, the law of negligence says that he or she can be held financially liable." - Hasson Law Offices

Because of this, other states have outlawed the use of headphones while driving, even when they're only being used in one ear.

Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash
Photo by Igor Starkov on Unsplash
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Personally I think it's a needless distraction that could ultimately harm someone. When it comes to your safety and everyone else's on the road, why wouldn't you give the road every bit of attention it needs? At the very least, just turn the music on on your car stereo. If you want to pop on those AirPods, save it for the passenger seat.

Have you seen people driving with AirPods/headphones? What do you think of it?


 

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