In South Carolina, wearing headphones or earbuds in your car is legal. Residents may face surprise by the how many behaviors are legal, yet discouraged by police officers. In terms of headphone usage, The State suggests that some states outright ban earbuds and headphones while driving. South Carolina is not one of these states.
To be an alert driver, a person has to hear sounds while driving. Headphones can restrict a driver’s hearing to the point where he or she does not hear sirens or passing trains. In the case of a train crossing, this could lead to accidents, particularly at railroad crossings that do not have a barrier. While the law does not force a driver to take out his or her earbuds, it does require a driver to stop for law enforcement or emergency vehicles that have sirens on.
Is it distracted driving? According to the South Carolina Department of Insurance, South Carolina ranks number one in the country for fatalities rate per 100 vehicle miles traveled. Distracted driving includes any activity that draws a driver away from the task of driving. For instance, cell phone usage is one of the most popular ways that a driver distracts his or herself. It is not the only way.
Loud music from headphones may distract a person from the task of driving because he or she can no longer hear the road. A lack of awareness on the road can put drivers, passengers and bystanders at risk. South Carolina ranks as the third in the nation for careless driving, earbuds may lead to drivers becoming another statistic.