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Q&AZ: Is it legal to drive while wearing headphones in Arizona?

Through KJZZ's Q&AZ reporting project, a listener asked: Is it legal to wear headphones while driving in Arizona?

The answer is yes — for the most part. There is no state law explicitly saying you can't. But according to Sgt. Eric Andrews from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, drivers still need to pay attention to the road.

"If you have your headphones blasting, and you’re driving down the road, you may not hear sirens coming up behind you from an emergency vehicle," Andrews said. "So if you fail to yield to an emergency vehicle per ARS 28775, that could be a violation."

DPS also says that cities and counties can impose ordinances preventing drivers from wearing headphones. But statewide, only school bus drivers are prohibited from wearing them.

Even though it's legal, driving with headphones is not recommended.

"Headphones are designed to kind of shut out the rest of the world so that you can hear whatever you're listening to through those headphones," Andrews said. "So obviously wearing them makes it so that you lose out on all that influence from outside."

Q&AZ answers more listener questions

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Naomi DuBovis was an intern at KJZZ in 2023.