In January of this year there was a lot of awareness about accidents involving pedestrians who wear headphones. The news picked up fairly quickly on the new study numbers. Los Angeles Times, New York Times, BusinessWeek among hundreds of other media outlets put a spotlight on the issues surrounding use of headphones by pedestrians and their involvement in accidents. Personal injury lawyers picked up on this as well and wrote about how to keep safe – which is all really great.
It’s illegal to wear headsets or earplugs in both ears while driving in California.
There needs to be awareness about distractions and how they can result in accidents. However, distractions are not limited to pedestrians alone. Drivers are constantly distracted behind the wheel with all sorts of gadgets and toys including but not limited to listening to music with headphones or earphones. In Los Angeles, people seem to ignore the fact that it’s illegal to wear headphones and earphones in both ears while driving. There are certain exemptions but none that apply to a typical driver like you or me.
The Ear Buds Epidemic
The “ear buds epidemic” as it has been dubbed by one local blogger is not only annoying and illegal but dangerous too. “In 2010, 3092 people have been killed in crashes involving a distracted driver” – according to Distraction.gov (Official U.S. Government website for distracted driving.) Although not mandated by federal law, head phone use while driving has been banned in many states by state law including California. Drivers who wear headphones or ear buds in both ears often fail to yield to emergency vehicles, and most of all can’t hear the traffic around them – sometimes resulting in accidents.
In Los Angeles, a driver breaking the law by isolating themselves from the sound of the road is a prevailing occurrence that doesn’t get much attention. As if there aren’t enough distractions as it is, some people feel the need to listen to their music through headphones while driving. If abiding by the law is not a good enough reason to wait out on headphone use until you get home, at least have the decency of not endangering others in a potential accident.
People are constantly getting into car accidents in Los Angeles, often resulting in terrible injuries. It doesn’t take much to get distracted and run into a car pulling out of a parking structure or failing to hear the warning of another vehicle in case of emergency. Vehicle horns were installed for a reason – to warn others of potential danger, but of what use are they if you can’t hear them?
Do you see drivers who cover both of their ears while driving?