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Loud Music and Distracted Driving Accidents

Enjoying your favorite music at full blast whilst driving is an activity many people enjoy, particularly on longer drives. It might be fun to listen to all your favorite songs in the car, but it’s not as harmless as it might seem. 

Research does show that listening to calming music of a slower tempo and at a safe volume is relaxing and decreases boredom. However, once the music starts cranking up to high volume levels, the effect can be quite the opposite. In fact, listening to loud music while you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle is dangerous and distracting. There’s a seriously increased chance that you can cause an accident whilst blasting music in your car. 

Is Listening to Loud Music While Driving Illegal in California?

There is plenty of research that shows that listening to loud music while you drive can negatively impact your reaction time. Not to mention, it’s extremely distracting and can all too easily lead to accidents caused by negligence or recklessness. There isn’t a federal law that says it’s illegal everywhere to play loud music while driving. The laws on this particular issue vary greatly from state to state.

When it comes to the law in California, Vehicle Code 27007 states that it is illegal to play music in a vehicle if that music can be heard from fifty feet away or more. It’s actually an infraction that can lead to hundreds of dollars in fines if caught. All in all, it’s just much better to turn the stereo down than risk the consequences of high volume music.

While you might not necessarily get pulled over for playing your music loudly, if the music is determined to cause an accident, you could find yourself in legal hot water. As mentioned above, driving while blasting music can lead to delayed reaction times. This is a huge risk factor when driving a vehicle, as it seriously increases your chances of getting into a collision or directly causing some sort of serious accident. 

When driving, it’s critical that your reaction times are optimal at all moments while behind the wheel. Because accidents are common, researchers have thoroughly studied the effects of loud music on driving. In a study conducted in Canada, it was discovered that individuals who were listening to high volume music took 20% longer to perform physical and mental tasks. That’s a serious delay in reaction time when behind the wheel of a car moving up to 70 miles per hour! 

Beyond the direct physical effects of delayed reaction times, loud music, in general, is a distraction. Drivers are also unable to hear emergency sirens, which can lead to serious or even fatal collisions. Not to mention, it’s certainly illegal for a driver to fail to yield to an emergency vehicle. If you can’t hear the sirens coming, there’s no way for you to know when you need to yield. Furthermore, it could prevent you from hearing the horns of other drivers, which could be warning you about potentially dangerous situations. 

Additionally, drivers playing loud music are also more likely to speed, which is found to be particularly true if the tempo of the music is more than 120 beats per minute. Studies have shown that fast music leads to drivers taking more risks. For example, running red lights or changing lanes suddenly. Interestingly, there is even research stating that fast tempo music causes the brain to compete for an increased number of temporal events. This higher frequency of temporal changes leads to limited driving capabilities. 

Lastly, it’s important to note that the dangers of listening to loud music and, therefore, driving negligently are severely increased for teenagers. Teens are significantly more likely to drive recklessly when listening to loud music, as well as make more basic driving errors, such as weaving and speeding.

Overall, there can be dire consequences for those who choose to listen to loud music while behind the wheel. If an accident is caused because of distractions from music, legal action taken against the driver for negligence or recklessness can be very severe. 

 

Is it Illegal to Listen to Music with Headphones While Driving?

California Vehicle Code states that it’s illegal to wear headphones whilst operating a vehicle. For many of the same reasons as listening to loud music on your car stereo, using headphones to listen to music is equally as dangerous. This is particularly true if the music is being played at high volumes. 

In fact, wearing headphones makes it even less likely that you will hear approaching emergency vehicles or the warning blare of a horn from another driver. Additionally, music played through headphones is just as distracting, increasing the possibility that you will make dangerous driving mistakes and poor decisions

Reckless driving caused by listening to headphones is of growing concern. Due to the increasing use of Bluetooth and wireless headphones, such as Apple Airpods, more and more people are going about their everyday lives with headphones the majority of the time. Many people keep their headphones handy whilst driving in case they need to make phone calls, and often use them to listen to music whilst behind the wheel. But headphones block out even more sound than a car stereo, making their usage very dangerous. 

If you cause or are involved in an accident whilst listening to headphones, you could face serious legal consequences. Not only is the act of using headphones whilst driving illegal in the state of California, but in addition, a collision caused by distracted, reckless, or negligent driving could leave you with some very serious charges. Avoid driving with headphones at all, but in particular, don’t play music through headphones whilst operating a vehicle. 

What Accidents are Caused by Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving and reckless or negligent driving are some of the most common causes of serious or fatal car accidents. Because driving with loud music playing is considered distracted driving, it greatly increases the chance of causing the following types of accidents:

  • Head-on collisions
  • Side-impact accidents
  • Intersection accidents
  • Interstate accidents
  • Rear-end accidents

These types of serious accidents pose a very real threat of causing painful and even life-threatening injuries. Such injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Head injuries
  • Broken ribs or other broken bones
  • Internal bleeding
  • Herniated disc
  • Knee trauma
  • External injuries such as cuts, scrapes, or burns

 

Contact an Experienced Orange County Auto Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver, you should discuss your legal options with an attorney as you may be entitled to compensation. The Orange County personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can then help determine if you have a valid personal injury claim. With multiple offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, El Segundo, San Diego, and Riverside, our car accident injury lawyers represent accident victims across Southern California. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 949-727-9300.