Do You Wear Headphones While Driving? Is it Even Legal in Iowa?
Wearing headphones while driving... I must ask anyone who does this, WHY? What's wrong with your car's sound system? How do you change tracks without using your phone and hence, breaking to text/drive law? (which you technically are if you start typing on your cell while driving). Before you answer that question, let's first start at the actual start with an answer to the question of legality. Can you wear headphones while driving?
Can I wear my headphone while driving in Iowa?
Short answer... yes it is. It's not illegal so technically it's legal to do so. Other tech uses are certainly unlawful in Iowa. Obviously texting while driving is one. But wearing headphones is, technically, legal. In fact, Iowa is, much like most states, one that does not prohibit the use of headphones while a driver is behind the wheel.
Of course, if the headphones lead to distracted driving, they become illegal. And just because it's legal, does not mean it's actually safe. If you get stopped for speeding and the officer notices the headphones, you could, in theory, get a ticket for distracted driving.
A couple of Iowa's neighbors say nooo to headphones while driving
Both Illinois and Minnesota restrict wearing your Airpods (or other headphone brands) while driving. Actually, according to VLaw, so do Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington if you want to get technical. Most states, like Illinois, do allow a cellphone earpiece. Think those obnoxious Bluetooth devices everyone wore in 2005. Those are legal. They're also obnoxious.
To double-check the legality locally, I reached out to the Black Hawk County Sheriff's office. Captain-Chief Deputy Mark Herbst told me the following,
This is not specifically addressed in the Iowa 321 Code of operation of a motor vehicle but we believe that any device that affects or impairs your visual or auditory senses to safely operate a vehicle is not a good idea.
So just remember if you do wear your headphones while driving: you may miss the sounds of an emergency vehicle. You may be putting others in danger by wearing them. So be safe. And, maybe make a playlist ahead of time. Or, listen to a book on tape.