Can a Driver Be Negligent for Wearing Headphones?

Injury Lawyers Serving Victims Injured by Negligent or Inattentive Drivers in New Jersey

You were involved in an automobile accident in New Jersey, and when you got out of your car you were shocked to see that the other driver was wearing headphones. You were shocked again when the police officer who responded to the accident left without issuing a ticket for the driver’s headphone use. Isn’t driving with headphones illegal? Isn’t it dangerous for the driver and others sharing the road?

Wearing Headphones While Driving Isn’t Illegal in NJ, but it Can Be Dangerous

Many people are surprised to learn that wearing headphones behind the wheel is not actually illegal in New Jersey. While some states have outlawed driving with headphones, in New Jersey, wearing headphones is considered on par with using a hands-free Bluetooth device. New Jersey allows non-handheld cell phone use for most drivers (drivers under 21 and bus drivers excluded) – though recent studies have shown that handheld and hands-free calling may be equally dangerous.

Wearing headphones while driving is permitted in New Jersey. Does this mean that a driver who causes an accident while wearing headphones cannot be considered negligent? Absolutely not.

Eating and drinking. Adjusting the stereo. Setting GPS directions. Talking on the phone hands-free. These are all legal under New Jersey law, and they all can – and do – lead to accidents. Wearing headphones behind the wheel is no different. When wearing headphones:

  • Drivers can become distracted by their phone conversations or audio entertainment.
  • Drivers may be unable to hear horns, squealing tires, and other sounds around them.

When a driver causes (or contributes to causing) an accident because he or she is distracted, the law of negligence says that he or she can be held financially liable.

Of course, this assumes that the driver was on the phone or listening to something at the time of the crash. Wearing headphones, by itself, is not necessarily negligent. If the driver was wearing headphones in case a call came in, for example, the fact that he or she was wearing headphones may not factor into your claim for compensation.

Proving that a Driver Wearing Headphones Was Negligent

In order to prove negligence, it will be necessary to conduct an investigation. Did the driver who hit you admit to the responding police officer that he or she was listening to music or on the phone? Do the driver’s phone records show that he or she was in the middle of a conversation at the time of the crash? Even if the driver’s headphone use was not a factor in the accident, did he or she make another mistake that entitles you to seek just compensation? These are all critical questions that you will want to have answered as soon as possible.

Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer in Teaneck, NJ

Were you injured in an accident involving a driver who was wearing headphones? If so, contact the Bergen County car accident attorneys at Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our car accident attorneys can get to the bottom of what happened, and if it appears that you have a claim we can seek maximum compensation for your accident-related losses. Get the help you need to win the compensation you deserve – call (201) 928-0300 or contact us through our online contact form.