Headset or Earphones While Driving

California Vehicle Code (CVC) § 27400

A Headset or Earphones While Driving ticket will cost you $197 and Up in fines plus $1,000+ in insurance hikes and penalties.

Officer issuing Headset or Earphones While Driving in California

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California Vehicle Code 27400

In times where distracted driving is at an all time high keeping direct focus on the road eliminates any distraction that could occur during the course of driving. Taking your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel increase your risk of a distracted driving citation. The more that a driver engages in activities within a car, the more probable they are to get into a citation.

Distracted driving whether you are texting, eating food, putting on make-up, or playing music at a high level affects your cognitive way of processing. Your visual observation is limited if you are distracted by other things going on the car. Taking your hands off the wheel restricts your control of the vehicle in the event of a sudden stop or need for a quick response. All mental and physical receptors need to focus on the road at all times.

Headsets or earphones provide a personal way to enjoy music preferences or allow others in a public setting the privacy without the nuisance of what is coming from your headset or earplugs. The intent of driver’s who are wearing headsets may be to ensure that they have all hands to be on deck, however, headsets can distract drivers and increase risks.

Drivers that have a hard time hearing or require the assistance of hearing aides are encouraged to use earplugs or headphones so long as it does not limit the sound of emergency sirens, horns, or warnings. A driver must use good judgment before getting behind the wheel with the intentions of using earplugs or headphones. It is a driver’s responsibility to understand the importance of earplug and headphone use in California.

What does the California Code say about headsets or earphones while driving?

A person driving a car or riding a bicycle under CVC Section 27400 is restricted from using headphones or earplugs that are noticeably in, on or resting near both ears. There are a few notable exemptions to this law. The people who are permitted to wear headsets or earphones include:

  • A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.
  • A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.
  • A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.
  • A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer’s ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
  • A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

If none of these sound like you, leave the headphones to the side for now or make sure you do not have both ears covered.

It may seem safer to use a headset while driving than talking on the phone, but both can land you a citation. When using your phone it is best practice to use Bluetooth or Handsfree.

What is the punishment for a California Traffic Ticket for having a headset or earphone while driving?

The fine for a California traffic ticket for having “headset or earphones while driving” will cost you a minimum of $197 dollars for a first time offense.

Did you receive a citation for CVC 27400? If so, reach out to our office to find out how we can assist. We offer a free ticket review.