Is it Illegal to Drive with Headphones on in Washington State?

By Product Expert | Posted in Safety, Tips and Tricks, Travel on Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 5:21 am
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In the wake of the new “Distractive Driving” laws, the residents of cities all around Washington are left wondering what is legal and what is not when it comes to driving with technology. The new law forbids virtually all use of handheld gadgets such as phones, tablets, laptop computers and gaming devices while driving. But what does the law say about using headphones while driving? Find out below!

Listening to Ear Buds While Driving in Washington

Road laws vary state to state, and since Washington has a large number of transplants, it may be hard for people to know what is legal and what is not when it comes to lesser-known rules. For example, anyone coming from Oregon may be used to being able to listen to music through headphones while driving. Unfortunately, that same practice in Washington can land the person in hot water, as it is illegal to use earbuds or headphones to listen to music while driving.

According to RCW 46.37.480, “No person shall operate any motor vehicle on a public highway while wearing any headset or earphones connected to any electronic device capable of receiving a radio broadcast or playing a sound recording for the purpose of transmitting a sound to the human auditory senses and which headset or earphones muffle or exclude other sounds.”

There are a few amendments to the law. For one, motorcyclists wearing a helmet with built-in headsets or earphones are exempt from the law. Drivers can also use hands-free, wireless communications systems that are State Patrol approved, such as a Bluetooth headset.

For more helpful guides for driving in Washington, be sure to visit the “Travel” section of our blog here at Carter Volkswagen!

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