Is it authorized to drive with headphones?

In the event you drive an older automotive, or simply don’t care a lot to your automotive’s stereo, it’s straightforward to see why you’d simply hold your headphones on whenever you leap into the automotive.

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

All of us have busy lives and if you happen to don’t have to fret about plugging your telephone in, or ready for the sound system in addition up and recognise your machine, or perhaps you may have a media system that bugs out and modifications to podcasts regardless of the actual 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 rivalry for states and territories in Australia, as there are differing approaches to headphone use and the potential impression 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 observe 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 all the way down to widespread sense, actually. And sure, you could be the kind of driver who has their music up as loud because the audio system can go, however that is also fairly unsafe. 

In the event you can’t actually hear what’s taking place outdoors your automotive, you’ll be able to’t react to totally different conditions as promptly. And that might 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 may have over your automobile, then you could possibly be in strife. And if you happen to’re a Learner driver (L-plater) or Provisional licence holder (P-plater), you’ll be able to principally overlook it – the foundations, by and enormous, state that it’s not okay for these licence holders to put on headphones or every other audio-transmission machine whereas driving (telephones are banned, so it is sensible).

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 instantly into your ears whereas driving, as long as you don’t break NSW Street Rule 291 (1), which requires a driver to have correct management of the automobile. 

In the event you had been booked for not having management of the automotive, you’d be taking a look at three demerits and a $481 effective. Get caught in an energetic college zone, and you could possibly be at 4 demerits and a $603 effective. 

Don’t even consider touching your telephone to skip the advertisements in your podcast, both – until it’s in an acceptable cradle or mount, hooked up to the automotive. Cell phone fines are big (5 demerits, as much as $481), and if you happen to’re caught doing each, you could possibly 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. In the event you had been to be concerned in an accident or had been discovered to be missing correct management of your automotive, you could possibly be prosecuted.

Victoria Police posted on its Fb account that: “It isn’t unlawful to put on headphones when driving. Nevertheless, we strongly advise towards it, as it could have an effect on your means to completely concentrate on 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 be sure to can hold your automotive below management.

In the event you’re deemed to be uncontrolled or driving carelessly, you could possibly be booked, and hit with three demerits and a effective of as much as $575.

Western Australia

It’s authorized to drive with headphones in WA, however as with different states, it’s worthwhile to preserve management of the automobile. In the event you’re deemed to not be in management, and your tunes are what’s inflicting it, you could possibly 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 below the consideration of the distracted driving laws, which in SA states: “An individual should not drive a automobile with out due care or consideration or with out affordable consideration for different individuals on the street.”

If you’re discovered to be driving in a fashion that goes towards that, you could possibly 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 perhaps, misinterpretation) with regards to the cell phone use guidelines in Tassie.

The official guidelines state that if you happen to: “Drive utilizing cell phone (when transferring or stationary, however not parked) besides to make or obtain name from telephone secured in mounting or not required to be touched”, you could possibly face a effective of $346 and three demerits. However word there’s no point out of music or utilizing the telephone for something apart from calls. Can of worms? Presumably.

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


The nation’s capital lets you 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 principally the identical as in all places else. It’s okay to put on headphones, as long as you’re not doing so by utilizing your telephone illegally, and that you simply guarantee you’re in command of the automotive. 

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