MOTORISTS who wear headphones while behind the wheel are at risk of a hefty penalty.
This is because audio devices can detract from your ability to drive safely.
Is it illegal to drive with headphones on?
There is no specific law that prevents you from using headphones while driving.
But you could still be penalised if it can be deemed to be distracting.
This is because headphones can block out traffic sounds, emergency sirens, level crossing signals and even noise made by pedestrians or cyclists, making you a potential hazard for other road users.
Can you be charged for wearing headphones while driving?
Yes. Police can charge you with driving without due care and attention or careless driving, if you are distracted by the headphones.
Careless driving carries an on-the-spot fine of £100 plus three penalty points.
If your case goes to court then that fine can be increased to a maximum £5,000.
Add to this up to nine penalty points and even a driving ban.
Why is it dangerous to wear headphones while driving?
In the same way driving with flip flops on could attract a fine, using headphones while driving could be considered an impediment to your ability to drive with reasonable consideration for others. And if you have an accident while rocking out to your own tunes, it's more likely you would be considered at fault.
The Highway Code advises drivers to concentrate and avoid distractions such as "loud music" to ensure safe driving.
In 2015, France made it illegal for all road users to wear any device in their ear capable of emitting sound, including headphones for music or Bluetooth connections.
Anyone who breaches the rule faces a £120 (135 Euro) fine and three penalty points on their licence.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “A really good driver uses all their senses to anticipate problems. "Cutting out your hearing could mean you miss key clues about the road surface such as black ice, or warnings from other road users.
"Added to that is the distraction factor of anything you have banging away directly into your ears. "Some types of music have been shown to make drivers speed and be more aggressive, and that intimate podcast you saved up could be so good you start thinking about it and not the road ahead. "Just like eating at the wheel anything that reduces your attention could make you a hazard to yourself and other drivers and riders, and that’s careless driving in our, and the police’s, eyes. "It can be dealt with by a quick fixed penalty fine at the roadside so the chances of getting away with it if spotted are slim. So our advice is can the cans when driving."
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