Unraveling the Legal Implications: Is it Illegal to Drive with Airpods?

Table of Contents

Is it Illegal to Drive with AirPods?


What are AirPods?

Apple’s AirPods are incredibly popular wireless Bluetooth earbuds that let users listen to music, make phone calls, and access Siri without needing to take their smartphones out of their pockets. They have gained a massive following due to their sleek design and state-of-the-art features such as excellent sound quality, seamless pairing process, battery life and a compact charging case.

Controversy Around Driving with AirPods

The use of these innovative earbuds has been subject to debate regarding its legality and safety when used while driving. A crucial question that arises is, Is it illegal to drive with AirPods?

The Law and AirPods

Traffic Laws and Headsets

Traffic laws are intended to keep everyone on the road safe, including drivers and pedestrians. Some traffic laws explicitly outline the restrictions and prohibitions on wearing headsets or headphones while driving.

Specific Laws Regarding Driving with AirPods

The laws surrounding driving with headphones or wireless earbuds like AirPods vary considerably from one place to another. For instance, some states in the U.S heavily penalize or even prohibit the use of headphones while driving unless it’s for communication purposes. Some allow a single earpiece in one ear, others make exceptions for built-in vehicle communication devices or GPS navigation.

State/Country-wise Legality of Driving with AirPods

It’s important to check local and national laws regarding such practices as they can vary significantly. In many U.S states, using headphones that cover both ears is illegal, but earbuds like AirPods may be legal. However, in areas like the United Kingdom and Australia, any use which may impair hearing or concentration while driving is deemed illegal.

Safety Concerns of Driving with AirPods

Potential Hazards Related to Driving with AirPods

While there are no studies directly linking AirPod use to driving accidents, it stands to reason that having both ears occupied can contribute to distracted driving. The potential hazards range from reduced auditory awareness of exterior sounds, such as sirens, honks, or warnings, to distraction due to music or calls.

Statistics and Studies on Accidents Related to Headphone Use

While specific statistics on AirPods and driving are sparse, a 2019 report from the National Safety Council reported that 9% of fatal crashes were due to distractions. Although not all these distractions can be attributed to headphone use, it highlights the danger of any activity that can distract a driver.

The Argument for Driving with AirPods

Why Do People Drive with AirPods?

Despite the possible safety risks, some drivers prefer using AirPods for phone calls because they feel it’s less distracting than holding a physical phone. Others use them to listen to music, podcasts or navigation instructions.

Potential Benefits of Driving with AirPods

AirPods offer certain advantages such as crystal clear audio for calls and music, noise cancellation and Transparency Mode that allows outside noise. These features may contribute to safer driving when compared to traditional headphones or earphones.

Transparency Mode and Safety

Transparency Mode on AirPods Pro allows drivers to listen to their audio while still hearing the environment around them, which could potentially mitigate some safety concerns raised. Nevertheless, it does not completely eliminate the risks associated with distracted driving.

Alternatives to Driving with AirPods

Comparing AirPods to Car Speakers and Bluetooth Devices

Car speakers, Bluetooth integrated systems, and single-ear Bluetooth headsets provide safer alternatives for drivers. These options allow drivers to maintain awareness of surrounding sounds and keep both hands on the wheel.

Suggestions for Safe and Legal Alternatives

Consider using in-car audio systems or a Bluetooth speakerphone for taking calls while driving. If you need to listen to navigation, lower the volume so exterior sounds are not completely drowned out. Always ensure your alternative complies with local and national laws.


Is it illegal to drive with AirPods? The answer hugely depends on the local and national regulations in your area. However, safety is of the utmost importance while driving, and it is advisable to avoid driving with both ears covered.

VII. References
For more information on this topic, consult these resources:

1. National Safety Council’s report on distracted driving
2. AAA’s state-by-state guide to headset laws for drivers
3. Studies on the effect of headphone use while driving