Listening to music or podcasts in the car is a given for many. A lot of people use their commute to catch up on their latest favorite music and podcasts. When you decide to switch over to headphones while driving in Illinois because of a broken radio or disagreement on music selection, you might put your safety and the safety of others at risk. The Chicago car accident lawyers at Lerner and Rowe explain what you should know about the laws around headphones in Illinois.
Can I Wear Headphones While Driving in Illinois?
According to state law, in Illinois, drivers may not operate a motor vehicle while wearing a “headset receiver,” which is any device worn on the head and used for electronic communication. By that definition, you can not wear headphones while driving in Illinois.
There are some exceptions to this rule as outlined by Illinois Vehicle Code 625 ILCS 5, which include:
- Use of Bluetooth single sided (one ear) headset or earpiece with a mobile phone
- Headsets worn by on duty emergency medical services, fire service, and law enforcement personnel
- Intercom-equipped motorcycle helmets
- Construction workers’ headsets
If a driver is stopped in Illinois for using headphones while driving, the maximum punishment is a $500 fine. In the event of an accident, that individual would also be liable for any injuries they may have caused. The state also prohibits the use of a cellphone while driving unless it is a hands-free device.
Dangers of Driving with Headphones in Illinois
The number one danger of wearing headphones while driving is that it leads to distracted driving. When you take your focus off of the road, even for a second, you can cause an accident. Other dangers of driving with headphones on include reduced situational awareness and decreased hearing. Additionally, a driver may be in danger while turning the wheel if their earphone or headphone cords become tangled in their lap.
A study conducted by Ford Motors found that, on average, people who are using headphones while driving take more than 4 seconds longer to recognize possible traffic risks than those who are not wearing headphones. Another study found that by wearing headphones in both ears to listen to music, drivers are more distracted than when listening to music on the car stereo.
Along with car accidents, some other common accidents our Chicago personal injury lawyers have handled due to drivers wearing headphones include:
Proving Negligence Related to Driving with Headphones
Negligence is the main factor in personal injury cases. In most cases, if someone causes a car accident, their actions are considered a negligent act. Depending on the circumstances, it might not be considered negligence if the driver who caused the accident was only wearing headphones due to an emergency situation.
In order to prove negligence, an injury attorney may conduct an investigation to see if the driver was wearing headphones at the time of the accident. In order to find out whether the at-fault driver told law authorities they were on the phone or listening to music before the incident, we will first review the accident record. Then, in order to determine if the other driver was talking on the phone at the time of the collision, we will try to obtain phone records. The investigation will also look for any other causes, including drug use or driver fatigue, that may have contributed to the accident’s injuries and other damages.
Injured By a Distracted Driver With Headphones? Call Lerner and Rowe
No matter what type of accident you were involved in, our Illinois personal injury lawyers can help you obtain justice when you’ve been injured by a distracted driver with headphones. Our team will work tirelessly for you and ensure we win your case. Contact us today for a free consultation, as you may be eligible for compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.