New technology can do some amazing things and make life a great deal easier. One rapidly advancing technology is that surrounding headphones – now often earbuds. Earbuds allow us to listen to our music and podcasts in the most random of places – all while not bothering those around us.
Apple’s creation of its wireless AirPods also changed the game, allowing for the use of headphones or earbuds without any wires to get in the way. And while all of this may be positive, the frequency with which individuals use their earbuds while driving is extremely alarming.
According to AAA, wearing earbuds while driving should be considered a dangerous distracted driving activity. Moreover, while it is bad practice due to the increased impact that it has on your sensory deprivation and distraction level, in many states, the practice is also illegal. Often the only exceptions are for speakers built into protective headgear used by law enforcement and emergency services workers as well as those with hearing aids.
According to researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, not only is it unsafe for drivers to wear earbuds while driving, but it is also unsafe for pedestrians. The researchers found that the total number of serious injuries has tripled over a period of six years and “there were 116 reports of death or injury of pedestrians wearing headphones.” The researchers refer to the distraction when wearing earbuds as “inattentional blindness,” which they say multiple stimuli divide the brain’s mental resource allocation.
Despite the dangers associated with wearing headphones while driving, according to the AAA Digest of Motor Laws, only 14 states currently have any type of restriction on wearing them while driving (unless you are hearing impaired). Four states have total bans, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan have no restrictions on wearing earbuds while driving.
Today’s technology may make wearing the devices even worse, as many models now come with noise cancellation acoustical technology. Because hearing is such a useful sense for driving, without the ability to hear, drivers may miss some really important cues necessary to maintain safe driving. Noises such as sirens, railroad warnings, and horns can make a big difference on one’s driving.
Overall, the most important thing is for drivers to do everything they can in order to remain attentive and to avoid any activities that may contribute to the decrease of their attention.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is important to have your case handled by an experienced and dedicated legal professional. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., our Columbia car accident lawyers will fight to secure maximum financial compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation, call 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 today or contact us online.
From our six offices in South Carolina, we represent accident victims in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.