Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle accidents in and around Charleston, West Virginia. A rising trend causing concern among traffic safety experts is drivers wearing headphones while operating on the roadway. With the advances in wireless headphone technology, it is becoming more common for people to simply leave their headphones in at all hours of the day, including while they are driving. Here, we want to discuss whether it is illegal to wear headphones while driving in West Virginia.

Does West Virginia Law Prohibit Headset Use?

West Virginia law does not prohibit the use of headsets or headphones while operating a vehicle. West Virginia law prohibits the use of handheld cell phones for all drivers while the vehicle is in motion, but this does not apply to headphones, even if they are directly connected to the mobile device.

Why Headphones and Earbuds are Dangerous for Drivers

Driving with headphones in can be an incredible distraction for drivers. According to data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main types of distractions for drivers:

  • Visual – this includes taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual – this includes taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive – this includes taking your mind off of driving

While many people think they are operating more safely by using earbuds, the reality is that this can completely take a person’s mind off of driving. When a person is behind the wheel of their vehicle, they really do need to be able to hear their surroundings. Headphones, particularly noise-canceling headphones, could drown out any possible warnings about dangerous situations.

Importantly, the use of headphones can also prevent a person from hearing emergency vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks, or ambulances.

Consequences of Wearing Headphones While Driving

There are various consequences that drivers could face due to wearing headphones while driving. While there may not be a law directly related to wearing headphones while operating a vehicle in West Virginia, a driver could find themselves in serious trouble if they fail to move out of the way of an emergency vehicle.

Additionally, distracted driving caused by earbud use could lead to severe accidents. Not only will a driver have to deal with possible injuries after a crash occurs, but they will also have to deal with property damage. If a driver using headphones causes a crash, then their insurance will be responsible for covering the damages of other parties involved. This could cause an exorbitant increase in the distracted driver’s insurance premiums.

Injured? Contact a Charleston Car Accident Attorney

If you or somebody you care about has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of a distracted driver, turn to Tiano O’Dell for help today. Our West Virginia car accident lawyers have extensive experience handling complex cases, and we have the resources necessary to fully investigate the claim. If headphone use or another type of distracted driving caused the crash, we will help determine liability to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to.