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Is It Illegal to Drive with Headphones? A State-By-State Guide

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Photo: Jeshoots

Driving with headphones is not a good idea. Of course, you don’t have to have hearing to be able to drive, but limiting your senses — especially when you’re not used to being without your hearing — can be dangerous behind the wheel. You may not hear sirens coming up behind you or honking to prevent you from hitting another vehicle.

But being frowned upon and illegal are two very different things with very different consequences. We put together a guide to help you find out about the headphone laws in your state.

Please note: This list is for motorized vehicles only and does not include hearing aids, earpieces for your cell phone, or built-in intercoms for helmets.

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Driving with Headphones: Laws by State


In the following states, it is illegal to drive while using headphones:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Illegal with Exceptions

The following states have laws regarding headphones, but do not ban them outright:

  • Arizona — School bus drivers and child care providers may not use headphones while driving
  • Colorado — Illegal except when used in one ear for cell phone calls
  • Florida — Illegal except when used in one ear for cell phone calls
  • Georgia — Illegal except when used for cell phone calls
  • Illinois — Illegal except for when used in one ear
  • Massachusetts — Illegal except for navigational purposes
  • New York — Illegal except when used in one ear
  • Pennsylvania — Illegal except when used in one ear for cell phone calls


In the following states, there are no laws regarding headphone use while driving:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

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Sources: AAA