Is it illegal to use headphones while driving in Texas?
Safe driving requires you to be 100% focused. You must keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel… but what about your ears?
Texas roadways are filled with sounds that can help drivers make decisions or simply be alert to any situation. Although using headphones while driving is unwise, Texas law doesn’t prohibit the use of headphones while driving.
However, just because driving with headphones is legal in Texas doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, even though it’s legal, people who use them can be cited by the police on dangerous driving charges.
Dangerous driving citations for using headphones
Dangerous driving laws in Texas apply when you drive deliberately or with disregard for the safety of other people or their property. Fines for dangerous driving run up to $200 and can even involve up to 30 days in jail. If wearing headphones causes you to get distracted from the road, that may be enough to qualify as dangerous driving.
A study conducted by Ford showed that people listening to music through headphones while driving were on average 4.2 seconds slower at identifying road signals than those without headphones.
While that might not seem like a lot of time, those seconds can make all the difference when you or your driver are trying to prevent an accident.
Reasons why you shouldn’t drive while wearing headphones
Using headphones while driving can be a double-edged sword. Although it may seem like a less distracting habit than others, the reality is that doing so puts your life at risk.
Headphones and Bluetooth devices can block a driver’s hearing and interfere with their ability to perceive danger and prevent car accidents.
Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people die every day due to distracted driving in the United States.
There are three types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive. Driving with headphones can cause all three of these distractions, as you may take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel when changing the song on the device that your headphones are connected to.
To keep yourself and others safe, avoid using headphones while driving as much as possible. If you must use headphones while driving, be sure to keep the volume low enough so that you can hear the sounds of your surroundings. Use only one side of the headphones and leave the other ear free for listening. A best practice is to place the headphones in the right ear, as far away from the driver’s side window as possible. Consider rolling down a window to better hear traffic conditions.
Keep your attention on the road while listening. Don’t take your eyes off the road to fiddle with the radio or your device. Maintaining caution while listening to your headphones can help show police that you did everything possible to prevent an accident.
If you have an accident while wearing headphones, remember that this doesn’t automatically make you responsible. Don’t admit fault. Instead, contact a car accident attorney to help protect your rights and reduce your personal liability.
What to do if you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver using headphones
If you were involved in an accident due to a driver wearing headphones, don’t worry. You’re entitled to seek compensation, since the other driver’s use of headphones while driving may be relevant to your car accident claim.
Be sure to write this detail down in the police report when describing the accident scene and mention it to your personal injury attorney so they can investigate the cause of the crash and determine whether the driver wearing headphones was distracted at the time of the crash.
As a result, your attorney can help recover losses related to medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering, and other common damages from accidents.
Damages you can recover in a car accident claim
Getting into a car accident is no fun. However you can file a claim for the incident and recover your monetary losses. It’s important that you work with an experienced car accident attorney to determine what your legal options are.
Once you’ve received medical attention for your injuries and have contacted an attorney experienced in accident cases, your legal representative can evaluate the details of your case and determine the best way to proceed with your claim.
Every accident claim is unique and the damages you may recover depend on a variety of factors, such as the extent of the property damage.
Damages that car accident victims can typically recover include:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death damages
Who should you call after getting in a car accident caused by a driver wearing headphones in Texas?
If you were injured in a car accident because someone involved was driving with headphones, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney at George Salinas Injury Lawyers. We understand that a catastrophic accident can be life-changing. Reach out to us to set up an initial consultation, so we can guide you on the right legal path.
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