Business woman driving to work with earbuds in

Car Accidents

Using Headphones While Driving

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

Headphone use is common, especially among younger drivers. However, headphones or earbuds can be dangerous in certain situations. They may even be illegal if their use results in a car accident. If you are involved in a headphone-related car accident, you need to consider the implications and learn what steps to take next.

Is it Legal to Drive with Headphones in Texas?

While it is not illegal to drive with headphones on your ears in Texas, that does not mean you should do it. In some cases, headphones can cause a distraction that leads to an accident, and distracted driving is illegal.

Texas distracted driving laws prohibit the use of certain electronics while driving. Those laws target cell phones and similar devices that receive text messages.

Can Driving with Headphones Cause an Accident?

Headphones can cause a car accident in many ways. They can certainly be an auditory distraction; however, studies indicate that they may pose cognitive issues as well.

A study by Ford indicated that listening to music with headphones can cause a person to identify cues 4.2 seconds slower than someone who does not have headphones on. While that might not seem like a significant amount of time, it can be the difference between life and death when you need to react fast.

Other factors that may result in a headphone-related car accident include:

  • The inability to hear an approaching emergency vehicle
  • Distraction from the noises coming through headphones
  • Failure to hear mechanical problem sounds on your own vehicle
  • Decreased situational awareness due to distraction
  • Slowed reaction times resulting in traffic violations

If you were involved in a car accident, and the at-fault party was wearing headphones, you should immediately contact a personal injury lawyer to help you determine liability.

What Happens if Someone Causes an Accident Due to Headphone Use?

If you’re in an accident with another driver who was wearing headphones, you may be able to prove they were negligent. They might even face reckless driving charges, depending on the exact circumstances.

Negligence Due to Headphone Use While Driving

Negligence is a legal theory that can allow you to collect compensation for your damages from the at-fault party. You must prove that the driver who was wearing headphones was negligent. That requires proof of:

  • Legal duty – The driver, like everyone on the road, had a legal duty to drive attentively.
  • Breach of legal duty – The driver breached that legal duty by driving distractedly.
  • Causation – Their distracted driving is the direct cause of your car accident.
  • Damages – The accident is responsible for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and other losses.

Reckless Driving Penalties for Headphone Use

Wearing headphones while driving may fall under “reckless driving” in Texas. Under Texas Transportation Code Section 545.401, reckless driving is “operating a motor vehicle with a wanton or willful indifference for the safety of others.” If headphone use leads to a car accident, the driver may be charged with reckless driving.

Reckless driving is a misdemeanor criminal charge and could result in penalties and a criminal record. You could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $200.

In addition to criminal penalties, reckless drivers who cause car accidents would also be liable for any damages they cause to others. That would include economic losses like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as noneconomic losses like pain and suffering.

What Should You Do If You’re In an Accident with Someone Using Headphones?

If you are involved in a car accident with someone who was wearing headphones, you should remain calm. Don’t immediately begin making accusations and get heated. Instead, call 911 and report what you saw to the police. There may be witnesses who can report the headphone use as well.

You should also get medical treatment as soon as possible. This is the most important step after any accident. This allows you to establish a baseline for the severity of your injuries and get recommendations for ongoing treatment.

From there, contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you file an insurance claim and develop a statement that clearly explains what you saw when the other driver wore headphones.

Contact Kemmy Law Firm After a Crash

Car accidents can be complex, especially if there is an issue like headphone use. There will be criminal implications as well as civil liabilities for the individual who was distracted while driving. You shouldn’t have to pay for the damages someone else caused.

Call our experienced car accident lawyers at Kemmy Law Firm today at 210-735-2233 or contact us online to schedule a case consultation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.