Police: Stop Wearing Earbuds While Driving

State police and transportation officials warn against wearing earbuds while on the road, adding to the list of driving distractions.

In some states, drivers can be issued a ticket for talking on a cell phone behind the wheel. Texting and driving is now illegal in Massachusetts. State Police want to remind Massachusetts drivers that listening to headphones is illegal as well.

State Police say more drivers are using hands free technology to communicate while driving, and while wearing one earpiece is allowable under the law, wearing two is not.

“Some operators have begun to use their headsets to listen to music, audio books, and other media while driving,” state police said in a Tuesday advisory. “Frankly, there is no legitimate reason for an operator to be wearing both headphones while driving.”

Police say the use of earbud headphones while driving cuts off one of the “vital senses,” and could cause drivers to be unable to hear emergency sirens, car horns

“Some dangers while driving are not immediately identified by sight alone and your ability to hear may be your only warning to immediate danger,” the advisory said.

Wearing headphones over both ears while driving is a primary offense in Massachusetts, which means, once observed, a police officer can pull a driver over for the offense and issue a ticket.

Police are campaigning against the use of earbuds while driving by placing electronic signboards along highways and secondary roads throughout the state, calling the effort a “simple, efficient and cost-effective way to inform the public on this issue and hopefully effect a change in motorist usage of these devices.”


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