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Is It Illegal To Wear A Headset While Driving?


If you moved to South Carolina from a state that outlaws wearing headsets while driving, you may have seen drivers wearing headsets and wondered, “Aren’t they breaking the law?” If you moved from a state, such as Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, or Virginia where it’s illegal to drive with headsets, it makes sense why you would question headset use while driving in South Carolina.

In both South and North Carolina, there is no law prohibiting drivers from wearing headsets or earbuds while driving on the public roadways. But, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Sgt. Bob Beres, commander of the Office of Community Relations with the South Carolina Highway Patrol told Bluffington Today, “There’s nothing on the books about that.”

“It’s another part of distracted driving, though, and you might have some engine noise. You also won’t hear emergency vehicles,” said Sgt. Beres.

Why Driving With a Headset is Unsafe

Everybody listens to music in the car. It’s a great way to unwind and improve a long commute. When a good song comes on, lots of people will crank up the volume in the car so they can rock out to the tune. But if blasting music is legal, why is it illegal to wear headsets or earbuds while driving in many states? The states that criminalize it believe driving with a headset or earbuds is more dangerous than blasting music on a vehicle’s stereo. And many members of law enforcement agree.

If you happen to drive a car with a bad or broken stereo, you’ve probably been tempted to put on your earbuds or headset, but fears of endangering others or getting into a wreck may have stopped you, and for good reason.

Failing To Yield To Emergency Vehicles

Let’s pause for a moment and look at this closer: Just think, if a fire engine, police car, or ambulance were delayed and unable to save your loved one because of some earbud-wearing driver who failed to yield to an emergency vehicle, would you file a personal injury suit? Would you be tempted to file criminal charges against this person?

Even though it’s perfectly legal to drive with a headset or earbuds in South Carolina, it’s not recommended. Same goes for driving with a dog on your lap – while it’s not illegal, it’s definitely unsafe and if you’re distracted by your dog and you cause an accident, you could be sued in civil court for negligence.

To learn more about the headset laws throughout the United States, click here.

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