With the increased use of smartphones, many states passed laws pertaining to the use of headphones while driving—and those laws vary greatly by state. Some states forbid it completely, making it illegal for drivers to drive with even one headphone in. Others allow one headphone, but only allow drivers to use it for communication purposes.
Missouri, however, is one of the few remaining states that do not have any laws pertaining to the use of headphones while driving. This means that drivers can use headphones in one ear or both while operating a vehicle. Furthermore, they can use those headphones for communication purposes, or just to listen to music while driving.
However, just because it is not illegal does not mean it is a safe habit. Drivers need to be alert at all times while on the road, and they often need multiple senses in order to do this.
Not only do they need to keep their eyes on the road, but they also need to be aware of other sounds on the road such as sirens from emergency vehicles and sounds that can signal construction is happening close by. Using headphones while driving can prevent a driver from hearing these sounds and ultimately may lead to an accident.
No matter what a driver is using them for, headphones can also be a distraction while on the road. Paying attention to music, videos, or even audio books distracts a driver and takes their attention away from the road. Even when using headphones to listen to someone on the phone, the potential consequences could be disastrous.
Even though a driver in Missouri will not face criminal charges for wearing headphones while driving, negligence may still apply in the event of a crash. This means that if a driver caused an accident because they were distracted and using headphones at the time, they could still be responsible for providing compensation to other parties. That compensation could include, among other expenses, paying medical bills and covering for loss of income if the accident causes them to be unable to work.
While drivers can legally drive while using headphones in Missouri, it should still be avoided whenever possible. It can pose a great danger to the driver using them, as well as to other drivers on the road. If you have been injured in a car accident, as a result of someone driving with headphones in, consult a skilled car accident lawyer that could help.