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Is Driving With Air Pods Illegal?

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Driving with the radio on is something most drivers do. Whether it’s music, news or a talk show, the radio is almost always on and tuned to something. Some drivers are taking it a step further and wearing their air pods or headsets while driving.

They use them to listen to their music and other audio devices. Drivers can even make and receive phones calls without having to take their hands off the wheel. This might seem safer than looking at and holding a phone, however this is not necessarily true.

Then there is the question of whether it’s legal to drive with your air pods in.

Air Pods, Driving and Legality

You do want to check local city and state laws before you pop your air pods in when you’re behind the wheel.

Currently there are only a few states that have made it illegal for drivers to wear air pods, earphones or headsets when driving. These states include,

  • Maryland
  • Colorado
  • Rhode Island
  • Louisiana

Fourteen additional states have enacted a similar law with varying exceptions. For example, you can wear one earbud while driving in some states. It’s only illegal if both ears are covered. Once again, before you automatically presume that it’s okay to wear one or both earbuds check current laws. They are constantly changing to keep up with new technology.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive with Air Pods

Yes, air pods when connected to some devices can allow you to answer incoming calls and even make outgoing ones. Since it is voice activated you don’t have to take your hands off the steering wheel or eyes off the road. This is actually the only advantage, and the reason why some states allow you to drive with one air pod in your ear.

While there is only one real advantage, there are several disadvantages to driving with air pods.

Distracted Driving

One of the most common causes of accidents is due to distracted driving. It can take less than a second for a collision or worse to happen.

Distracted driving covers a broad range of possible causes. The most common being phone use. Air pods can help eliminate this, but they can also create another distraction. It’s easy to get lost in the music when that’s all you hear. Before you know it, you’ve created your own world in your head and a couple of miles have passed.

This is dangerous to you and everyone else on the road. It’s difficult for law enforcement to ticket a distracted driver if an accident doesn’t happen, unless it’s in a state where air pod use is prohibited. This doesn’t mean that you should risk getting away with it, eventually you will cause an accident.

Emergency Sirens

It doesn’t matter what state you live in, emergency vehicles always have the right of way. There are no exceptions. If you do not move to the shoulder or pull into a parking lot to let the emergency vehicle pass, you will be cited. The fine isn’t cheap.

Between the flashing lights and piercing sirens, it’s hard not to know when one of these vehicles is getting near. The danger comes when you have both air pods in, and cannot hear the sirens. Now, you are running the risk of getting a ticket and interfering with the vehicle’s response time getting to the emergency.

Hearing Crashes

You can’t always see a crash as it’s happening. There could be traffic in the way, it’s ahead of the curve or another obstacle in the way. Chances are you’ll be able to hear it, unless you have both air pods in.

Sometimes you do need that extra second after hearing a collision to come to a complete stop as soon as it comes into view.

Insurance Problems

If you do get into an accident and were wearing air pods in both ears, there could be problems with your insurance company. It will depend on the cause of the accident, if it is determined that you were distracted when driving it’ll be difficult to make a claim.

Not only are you at fault, the accident could have potentially been avoided if you weren’t distracted by your earbuds. Along with being financially responsible, you will also be cited by the police. To make it worse, your insurance company will probably drop you. It will also be difficult to get affordable coverage through another provider.

Benefits of Driving with Air Pods

It was mentioned earlier that there was only one real benefit to driving with air pods. There is another that might apply to a select few drivers.

Scientific studies have shown proof that blocking out ambient noise can help individuals with severe anxiety disorders relax. Being calm and relaxed while driving is preferable to the alternative. However, it is still not recommended that all noise be cancelled out. All drivers still need to be able to hear sirens, car horns, collisions and other similar noises.

How to Use Air Pods While Driving

As long as you’re driving in a state that allows you to wear one air pod, there are a few things to remember to keep yourself and everyone else safe.

Here are the Do’s and Don’ts if you want to drive safely with one air pod in.

What to Do

  1. If your car has a microphone and speakers, use this to receive calls. You won’t need to drive with your air pods in. Chances are there is also a stereo, so you can still listen to music and other radio programs in between calls.
  2. When you are wearing your air pods, only put one in. This way you are still legal, except in a few states. You can make and receive calls with one air pod, and still hear the traffic around you.
  3. Take the time to buy a holder for your phone. There are several inexpensive ones that fit in most vehicles. It is also required by law in most states for anyone that plans on making and getting calls while driving.
  4. Make sure you use voice activated features. If you still have to look at your phone or other device, you are driving distractedly. It is illegal and dangerous.

What Not to Do

  1. The first one is obvious and has already been discussed multiple times. Do not drive with both air pods in, even in states where it is still legal. It puts you, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers at risk.
  2. If you phone rings and you haven’t set it to “hands free mode”, ignore it until you can pull over. The connect the phone to your car’s audio system or switch it over for hands free calling. No phone call is so important that you need to risk an accident.
  3. You don’t have to answer every call when the phone is in hands free mode. There are times when you can’t afford to be distracted, even for a split second. Industry experts recommend letting the call go straight to voicemail when you’re in heavy traffic, turning at an intersection, driving on rough roads or in bad weather. These are times when you need to keep your attention on the road.

These are the few basic rules you should follow if you plan on driving with your air pods.

Driving with Air Pods In

Hopefully you now understand why it is illegal to drive with air pods in some states, and overall not a good or safe idea.

It might be nice to block out the sounds of traffic and angry drivers, but you still need to be able to hear what is going on. You also don’t want your air pods to become a distraction.

If you do drive with air pods, check state laws. Wearing them illegally is not worth the ticket.

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