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Can you wear headphones behind the wheel?

Personal music players are more popular than ever, in large part because they're simply integrated into everyone's smartphones. It's easier than ever to put on a pair of headphones and listen to whatever you want, something that may not be possible in older cars without USB ports. As such, it's tempting to keep your headphones on when you get in the car, whether you're settling in for a long road trip, driving home from the gym after a workout session or heading to work.

There are rumors that it's illegal to do this, in part because other states -- like Massachusetts -- do have laws about it. In Massachusetts, for example, you can wear the headphones if you're only listening to one side, but not if you're listening to both.

Since this is governed on a state-by-state basis, though, it's important not to make assumptions about North Carolina law based on the laws elsewhere. In North Carolina, it's completely legal to drive and listen to headphones. There's no law against it. The same is true over the border in South Carolina.

This doesn't mean it's safe. Experts warn that the wires can be a danger; if the wire got wrapped around the stick or the steering wheel, for instance, it could cause a crash. Headphones are also distracting, and distracted driving is a top cause for accidents. Plus, headphones may keep you from hearing other sounds -- such as a firetruck's siren -- that you need to hear on the road.

So, while it is legal to wear headphones, they could still cause a car accident. If you've been hit by a distracted driver who was wearing them, you may be able to seek compensation.

Source: Power98FM, "Power Law: Is It Illegal In NC/SC To Wear Headphones While Driving?," Willie J, accessed Sep. 23, 2016

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