If caught, you could be charged with ‘driving without due care and attention’ or ‘careless driving’
Motorists are being warned about driving with headphones in, as doing so could lead to a hefty fine and penalty points if caught.
Whilst there’s no specific law in place that stops you from wearing headphones when driving, there’s a possibility that you could be punished if caught as it could be classed as being distracting.
Many drivers in the UK now use headphones when driving so that they can use their mobile phone hands free, as some modern headphones now come with an inbuilt microphone but wearing them can be extremely dangerous as they can reduce your awareness of what is happening around you and be distracting.
Driving whilst wearing them could prevent you from being able to hear an emergency service vehicle or a motorcycle or even a pedestrian or cyclist around your vehicle.
You could be charged by a police officer if caught for ‘driving without due care and attention’ or for ‘careless driving’ if they believe the headphones caused you to be distracted.
A £100 on-the-spot fine and three penalty points are issued for careless driving and if the case ends up in court, the fine could increase to a maximum of £5,000, up to nine penalty points and possibly a driving ban.
Furthermore, if you’re using the headphones together with your mobile phone, you could even be fined under the phone driving laws which now carry a fine of £200 and six points on your licence.
“A really good driver uses all their senses to anticipate problems,” said Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, adding: “Cutting out your hearing could mean you miss key clues about the road surface such as black ice, or warnings from other road users.”
Mr Greig also pointed out that music banging away in your ears whilst driving can be very distracting and it’s been found that certain kinds of music has been shown to cause drivers to speed or be more aggressive, whilst concentrating on your favourite podcast could lead to you thinking about that more than on the road ahead.
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