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Monday, May 29, 2023

Is it authorized to drive with headphones?

If you happen to drive an older automotive, or simply don’t care a lot to your automotive’s stereo, it’s simple to see why you’d simply hold your headphones on while you bounce into the automotive.

  • It’s technically authorized to drive with headphones, earphones or ear pods
  • Guidelines round automotive management could possibly be contravened when you’re distracted
  • Some jurisdictions deem it to be unsafe

All of us have busy lives and when you don’t have to fret about plugging your cellphone in, or ready for the sound system as well up and recognise your machine, or possibly you’ve a media system that bugs out and modifications to podcasts regardless of the very fact you had been simply listening to an album – it appears affordable, in some situations, to simply depart or your earphones on or your earbuds in.

Is it protected? That’s questionable, and it’s a bone of competition for states and territories in Australia, as there are differing approaches to headphone use and the potential affect it may have in your driving.

A few of these noise-cancelling headphones are distinctive – you mightn’t hear a truck honking to warn you that the motive force can’t cease. Or maybe that Daft Punk monitor you’re grooving to is just too loud so that you can hear a bike owner or pedestrian making an attempt to get your consideration.

It comes right down to frequent sense, actually. And sure, you may be the kind of driver who has their music up as loud because the audio system can go, however that is also fairly unsafe. 

If you happen to can’t actually hear what’s occurring outdoors your automotive, you’ll be able to’t react to totally different conditions as promptly. And that would imply the distinction between a near-miss and an actual accident.

That’s the kicker – in case your headphones, earpods, or earbuds are distracting you, they usually in flip restrict the extent of management you’ve over your car, then you possibly can be in strife. And when you’re a Learner driver (L-plater) or Provisional licence holder (P-plater), you’ll be able to mainly overlook it – the foundations, by and enormous, state that it’s not okay for these licence holders to put on headphones or another audio-transmission machine whereas driving (telephones are banned, so it is smart).

Right here’s a rundown of the variations between the Australian jurisdictions.

New South Wales

In NSW you’ll be able to have your music taking part in straight into your ears whereas driving, as long as you don’t break NSW Highway Rule 291 (1), which requires a driver to have correct management of the car. 

If you happen to had been booked for not having management of the automotive, you’d be taking a look at three demerits and a $481 high-quality. Get caught in an energetic college zone, and you possibly can be at 4 demerits and a $603 high-quality. 

Don’t even consider touching your cellphone to skip the adverts in your podcast, both – until it’s in an applicable cradle or mount, connected to the automotive. Cell phone fines are large (5 demerits, as much as $481), and when you’re caught doing each, you possibly can be in licence-loss territory.


In Victoria you’ll be able to have headphones on whereas driving, however the authorities take a dim view on the act. If you happen to had been to be concerned in an accident or had been discovered to be missing correct management of your automotive, you possibly can be prosecuted.

Victoria Police posted on its Fb account that: “It’s not unlawful to put on headphones when driving. Nevertheless, we strongly advise in opposition to it, as it may have an effect on your means to totally give attention to the duty of driving.”


A lot the identical guidelines right here – not unlawful to put on earphones or headphones, however concentrate on your environment and ensure you can hold your automotive beneath management.

If you happen to’re deemed to be uncontrolled or driving carelessly, you possibly can be booked, and hit with three demerits and a high-quality of as much as $575.

Western Australia

It’s authorized to drive with headphones in WA, however as with different states, it’s essential keep management of the car. If you happen to’re deemed to not be in management, and your tunes are what’s inflicting it, you possibly can be booked and fined.

South Australia

As with different states, it’s not unlawful to put on headphones and drive. However once more, it comes beneath the consideration of the distracted driving laws, which in SA states: “An individual should not drive a car with out due care or consideration or with out affordable consideration for different individuals on the highway.”

In case you are discovered to be driving in a way that goes in opposition to that, you possibly can face a court-imposed penalty of as much as $2500. 


It’s authorized to put on headphones and drive within the Apple Isle, however there’s a bit extra room for interpretation (or possibly, misinterpretation) in relation to the cell phone use guidelines in Tassie.

The official guidelines state that when you: “Drive utilizing cell phone (when shifting or stationary, however not parked) besides to make or obtain name from cellphone secured in mounting or not required to be touched”, you possibly can face a high-quality of $346 and three demerits. However word there’s no point out of music or utilizing the cellphone for something aside from calls. Can of worms? Probably.

Very similar to the opposite states, when you’re deemed to not be in command of your automotive due to your headphone use, you possibly can be fined $173. No demerits, although.


The nation’s capital means that you can put on headphones, earphones or earbuds and drive. However once more, the legal guidelines require you to take care of management of your automotive. 

Northern Territory

Within the NT, the foundations are mainly the identical as all over the place else. It’s okay to put on headphones, as long as you’re not doing so through the use of your cellphone illegally, and that you simply guarantee you’re in command of the automotive. 

Not meant as authorized recommendation. Test with the related roads authority in your state or territory.

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