Jul 7, 2023
Remaining alert and paying close attention to your surroundings are two straightforward safety tips recommended for all drivers. But these tips aren’t simply soft suggestions – they’re actually codified into the laws in an effort to maintain safe driving. Accordingly, it is illegal under California law for anyone to drive while distracted.
Types of distracted driving aren’t merely limited to cell phone usage – whether dialing, talking, or texting. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), distracted driving is defined as:
“… anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road, or hands off the steering wheel.”
A common question the car accident and personal injury attorneys at Dordulian Law Group frequently hear is:
As it turns out, in addition to California’s distracted driving laws mandating that anything which takes a driver’s eyes or mind off the road is considered illegal, there are laws specifically banning the use of headphones while driving.
California Vehicle Code 27400 stipulates that no one operating either a motor vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, moped) or bicycle may wear any of the following:
However, there are certain exceptions to California Vehicle Code 27400, including the following:
Additionally, it’s important to note that as a driver or bicyclist, you are legally able to wear a single headphone/earpiece (e.g. an AirPod) in one ear. By having both ears covered with any type of headphone, headset, or earplug, California law is officially violated.
A violation of California Vehicle Code 27400 will result in one point on one’s driving record under the DMV’s point system as well as a ticket with a fine in the amount of $197. Moreover, license suspensions for distracted driving with headphones can be incurred if a driver accumulates:
Headphones can cause distractions and lead to dangerous driving conditions. Distracted drivers are much more likely to cause accidents involving serious injuries. When wearing headphones behind the wheel, you may become distracted and therefore unable to:
Furthermore, driving with headphones actually diminishes a driver’s sense of spatial awareness. In fact, Ford recently conducted a study to determine how much of a negative impact driving while wearing headphones had on drivers.
The basic structure of the study included:
The Ford 8D spatial audio study found that:
Many states are in the process of enacting legislation to restrict or outlaw driving while wearing headphones. There are, however, certain states where it is currently legal to drive with headphones:
California allows victims who have been injured in distracted driving accidents – including those involving drivers wearing headphones – the right to sue for financial compensation to cover various damages.
Distracted driving is illegal in California, and those who injure drivers and passengers as a result may be held liable through civil actions. If you’ve been injured due to another driver’s negligence, contacting Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) team of experienced car accident lawyers can be the best decision you make.
We will fight to ensure that you get the justice and maximum financial compensation you deserve. Depending on the circumstances of your accident and the severity of your injuries, our dedicated personal injury attorneys will work tirelessly to recover all applicable damages for your claim:
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
Having a qualified and proven attorney fighting the at-fault driver’s insurance company means your rights will be protected. And with DLG, there’s never any upfront cost to you – you pay nothing for our expert legal services until after we’ve secured maximum financial compensation for your claim.
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