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Thread: Driving with headphones

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    Regular Member Innes's Avatar
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    Default Driving with headphones

    My mates just rocked up to work in is car with his headphones plugged into his iPod. Is it illegal to drive whiltst listening to music through headphones. It must impare his ability to be aware of his surroundings? Either way I told him its probably not a good idea but he cant see the problem.

    What do you guys think?

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    Ex Vec-C Admin Ian-Highlander's Avatar
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    Was scouring the net to find the answer to this after seeing your question and someone pointed out an interesting fact on one of the forums I ended up on... deaf people can legally drive so headphones impairing your hearing aren't an issue.

    I'd have thought the distraction might be, but then is it really any different to having music on in the car at a reasonable volume?

    Should add, I'd never drive with headphones on, but I can't find anything legal to say you can't in the Uk. It appears the U.S. has a law that you can only cover one ear (for hands free I assume) but no such thing over here.
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    I think you could possibly be done for due care, if for example you unwittingly held up an emergency services vehicle.

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    Regular Member john_k_sri's Avatar
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    IMO it's a stupid thing to do.

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    I must admit, i used to when riding my motorbike, but now have a proper bluetooth helmet. Volume was at a level so it could be heard, but the outside environment took priority.

    Begs the question, what about the earbud handsfree, or bluetooth ear peices? Same principle... apart from in most cases its only one ear being plugged.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birchy63 View Post
    I think you could possibly be done for due care, if for example you unwittingly held up an emergency services vehicle.
    Yip m8 I would say the same - along the same lines it's not a legal requirement to have a spare tyre but it is a legal requirement that if you do have one it must be road fit. Same with rear window wiper too.

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    what needs to be remembered is, deaf people rely on their other senses more. When one sense is lost, the remaining ones can be enhanced. It's a survival instinct thing.
    People with normal hearing are putting themselves and others at risk by totally blocking the hearing out. It is sometimes useful to be aware of sounds as you drive.
    Anything in the highway code? Wouldn't surprise me if they say you shouldn't use headphones. From a safety point of view, best not use them.

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    Regular Member Fruit'n'nut's Avatar
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    AFAIK, it's not illegal, but if you're involved in a collision/incident and are interviewed at the scene, I'm sure it would be a point to be covered in that interview - with a view to whether or not it distracted you and was in any way blame-worthy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birchy63 View Post
    I think you could possibly be done for due care, if for example you unwittingly held up an emergency services vehicle.
    No difference to listening to your stereo at full blast in the car. You're not going to hear an emergency vehicle either.

    Hence why emergency vehicles have flashing lights to warn you of their presence as well as an audible warning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian-Highlander View Post
    Was scouring the net to find the answer to this after seeing your question and someone pointed out an interesting fact on one of the forums I ended up on... deaf people can legally drive so headphones impairing your hearing aren't an issue
    You would need to have Information code 02 on your driving licence
    Otherwise you may not use headphones or earphones, such that you cannot hear other traffic or roadusers, or it would restrict your head movement or field of vision within the vehicle

    The same applies to microphones, as is often used with PCV
    If a headpiece is used by the driver then it must not cover the ear

    Excessive internal vehicle noise (loud music) is defined as such that a vehicle horn from a distance of 5 metres cannot be heard, either with the windows up or down

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