Smartphones and media players are convenient ways for people to listen to music or talk with friends while on the go. However, if earbuds or other headsets that prevent sound from entering the ear are used, the music and conversation can be the cause of personal injury.
Currently, state laws are all over the place regarding the use of headsets while driving. (See AAA’s Digest of Motor Laws, available at drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/headsets/). However, just because it is not illegal, this does not mean it is safe.
Anytime a person’s senses, whether it is sight or sound, are distracted from paying attention to road conditions, on-coming traffic, sirens of emergency vehicles, or children playing, there is additional risk to the motorist, bicyclist or walker. When earbuds or headsets that almost or completely drown out other sounds are used, there is no way for a person to hear anything that would alert them to these conditions.
At Goodin Abernathy, we want you to enjoy music and talking with your friends, but we want you to do so safely.
While watching local media coverage of the recent snowstorms, we saw a truck driver tell a local television reporter that “he was driving his semi on the interstate and only going 45 mph when his trailer began to fishtail, and he ultimately jackknifed.” The truck driver told the reporter that this must be a “freak accident.” The very next scene showed an interview of the Indiana State Trooper who was involved in investigating and responding to the jackknifed semi-trailer. The trooper was obviously angry and explained to the reporter that he had just written a very expensive ticket to the truck driver, as driving 45 mph down on ice and snow-covered interstate in the middle of whiteout conditions was certainly traveling too fast for the conditions. In the Trooper’s opinion, had the truck driver been going 20-25 mph, this truck accident never would have occurred.
When you’re driving a motor vehicle in the state of Indiana, there is no such thing as a freak auto accident. Drivers of vehicles, whether they be semi-tractor/trailers or passenger cars, have a legal obligation to maintain their vehicle under control at all times and drive at a speed appropriate for whatever conditions are present on the road. In this particular case it sounds as though the driver and his employer are going to be held responsible for a massive traffic tie-up and are fortunate that they aren’t going to be held responsible for serious injury or death caused by this truck driver operating his vehicle at an unsafe speed.