Is It Illegal to Drive with Airpods? [Updated Guide]

is it illegal to drive with airpods

Safety should be your top concern when choosing headphones or other comparable equipment. Anything that prevents you from controlling your automobile puts you, as well as other people, in danger. Is it illegal to drive with airpods? Legal counsel and representation are crucial if you discover yourself in trouble for breaking a state’s headphone regulation or require assistance with a claim for damages following an accident.

Is It Illegal to Drive with Airpods?

Unwired stereo earphones like the AirPods are part of the definition of any gadget worn over or within both ears that are forbidden to use while driving. Just because AirPods fit discretely in your ears doesn’t mean you’re safe; police are continually on the lookout for inattentive drivers. Driving while using just one AirPod is still acceptable.

The state of California has legislation that forbids pedestrians and drivers from using headphones when driving a vehicle. According to California Vehicle Code 27400, it is illegal for anyone riding a bicycle or driving a vehicle to use earbuds, earplugs, or headsets that enclose, rest into, or are put in both lobes. The great news is that numerous states allow airpods to be worn inside one ear when driving.

Where Is It Illegal to Drive with Headphones?

Driving while wearing headphones is absolutely prohibited in nine states. The following states are among them: Alaska, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Virginia, as well as Washington.

Eight more states have declared it unlawful to wear earplugs while driving, but Wireless, as well as other hands-free gadgets, are acceptable as long as they only cover one ear. The following states are among them: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, plus Pennsylvania.

The use of earphones while driving is legal across all other counties, notably Wisconsin as well as Iowa. Most states currently allow drivers to use earphones and headsets, including bluetooth headphones, while they have been operating a vehicle since around July 2022, and none of them have any prohibitions or legislation against it.

Airpods When Driving: Exceptions

Whenever it comes to earbuds, certain jurisdictions tread a fine legal line.


Drivers of school buses and childcare personnel are prohibited from using earphones while operating a vehicle. There are no laws prohibiting the public at large from engaging in it, though.


Except when using just one earpiece for phone conversations, it’s against the law to wear headphones. It is forbidden to use them to enjoy music or other forms of entertainment.


Unless they are solely worn on one side during phone calls, using headphones is prohibited.


Georgia has a few convoluted laws. It is acceptable for operators to wear headphones, even AirPods. But only phone conversations and conversation are permitted.


It’s forbidden to wear headphones unless you’re utilizing only one ear. Whether for phone conversations or music, it makes no difference.


Even when worn on just one side for phone conversations or navigating, earphones are prohibited.

New York

No matter the reason, New Yorkers are free to use earphones or headphones in one ear.


Apart from when utilizing just one ear, earphones are prohibited. If it’s a component of their safety gear, motorcycle riders may use two ears.

Washington, D.C., though not a territory, likewise permits headphones to be worn in just one ear.

Airpods When Driving: Exceptions

What Makes Using Headphones While Driving Illegal?

It isn’t a smart idea to muffle your ears if you’re not breaching any state driving rules. When driving, using a headphone to concentrate on audio blocks out external noises.

Driving a car on a Californian road requires drivers to obey the law and pay consideration to their surroundings. A motorist cannot use one of their most vital senses successfully while listening to sound through earphones.

This could prevent the driver from hearing emergency sirens, other drivers honking their sirens, occupants within their own vehicle pointing out safety concerns, or crucial environmental indicators like the sound of another vehicle’s tires screeching.

This may result in erratic driving and even a collision. By omitting warning signals of mechanical problems associated with your own automobile, you run the risk of endangering your own security. This poses a risk similar to that of distracted driving.

Because of this, using earphones, earphones, or any other item that covers or blocks both lobes while operating an automobile is prohibited.


VIDEO CREDITS: KING 5 Seattle YouTube Channel

Why is Using AirPods with One Ear Legal in Certain States?

The following are several justifications for why you ought to leave one ear free while driving.

  • Airpods, as well as other noise-canceling earphones, keep you from hearing oncoming police sirens, car wrecks, and other perilous circumstances on the highway.
  • While driving, you may only use one earbud or the phone’s dash-mounted receiver in several jurisdictions.
  • In order to avoid being accused of traffic violations if you are pulled over, leave one ear open.

What Negative Effects Might Airpod Use While Driving Cause?

The consequences may apply to those who use AirPods or other headphones while driving. The typical consequence for this traffic infringement is somewhere in the $200 range. However, individual circumstances may need a different amount. Prior to the due date on the ticket, you must either pay it in full or file a legal challenge, as failing to do so could lead to additional legal consequences, like being charged with a misdemeanor.

Scoring credit on your driving history is yet another possible outcome of using AirPods while traveling. Such factors can, over time, increase and have a detrimental impact on insurance rates. Those who continue to rack up points in their histories run the possibility of having their licenses revoked or suspended.

What is the Fine for Using Headphones While Driving?

Several states have regulations against distracted driving that apply to utilizing headphones during driving.

You can be stopped by a highway patrol officer who issues you a $100 fine or penalty. If you were caught breaking a traffic rule while donning earphones, the punishment might be upgraded to reckless driving, which carries a $200 penalty and/or a 30-day jail sentence.

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