They are lots of dangers and issues related to the use of earbuds, headphones, and earphones while driving. This trend is slowly becoming a major problem in the country, though it can be argued that earphones enable one focus, we must not turn a blind eye to the fact that these drivers would not have the ability to react quickly to important sounds or prompt reminders for safe driving (sirens, traffic sounds, even noise made by other road users).
Researchers have discovered that using these listening devices, raises a driver's sensory deprivation level thereby spiking his/her distraction rate. This sort of distraction has been termed "intentional blindness".
In addition to this, the type of sounds banging directly into your ears is also an important factor. Some category of songs has been proven to make a driver increase his/her speed or drive in a hostile manner.
FRSC has put out clarifications on the issue on the use of earphones while driving
- One out of 10 crashes recorded is as a result of distraction.
- Survey shows that using music players is one of the most practiced behaviors that is potentially distracting.
- Eight people are killed every day as a result of accidents caused by distractions.
These statistics discourage the use of earphones while driving. It has shown how important it is for distraction to be eliminated while driving as much as possible. So is Driving with your earphones illegal in Nigeria?
Just before we consider the Nigerian laws concerning earphones check out this video that directly tackles the earphone while driving issues.
Is it illegal driving with headphones
Nigerian Laws Concerning Earphones
The federal road safety corps (FRSC) has notified road users to desist from the use of phones in any pattern, when behind the wheel, in addition to whether or not their devices are wireless or have hands free accessories.
When asked about the use of earphones while driving, the spokesperson for the FRSC reminded the media that it is a violation for phones to be used in any form while driving. However, most drivers have found discreet ways of beating the law by resorting to the use of hands-free technology while driving including earphones and other in-vehicle hands-free communication technology.
Their perception of the use of this technology and hands-free communication devices is that they are possibly exempted from the "No Use of Phone while Driving Law" and some even see it as illegal driving laws. However, in a Facebook post to clarify the salient issues around the use of earphones and other hands-free technology, the Federal Road Safety Corps made the following assertion;
"USE OF PHONE WHILE DRIVING: Section 10 (Sub 4)4ff of the FRSC Establishment Act 2007 prescribes “making or receiving phone call while driving vehicles an offense and the punishment is N4000 and or 6months imprisonment., The law doesn’t allow the use of hands-free for phoning while driving, unlike in some other countries. This is to avoid distractions; some news either positive or negative can lead to excitement and loss of concentration which could result into Road Traffic Crash (RTC)."
Just know that you could be charged for distracted driving if you use earphones while driving
The Agency went ahead to state that the use of Hands-Free Devices does not in any way reduce the dangers of distracted driving, which on its own is a traffic offense. Thus the dangers of distracted driving are still very much present even when the driver's eyes are on the road and hands are on the wheel. See the Facebook post below;
The FRSC has promised to begin a nationwide move to repress the activities of drivers using earphones or any other device. Though the organization hasn't carried out an intensive study on the use of these devices in Nigeria, the ones done internationally has led them to the conclusion, that these gadgets pose a threat not only to drivers but to all road users. Therefore it is clearly illegal using your earphones when driving. It is also considered illegal texting and driving at the same time.
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The use of earphones is already very common across the country. People use it while exercising in the morning, sipping a cup of coffee, traveling on a bus, and even when driving. Though earphones are a convenient way of listening to sounds without distracting others, it poses so many dangers to one's self, and these sometimes go unnoticed.
Unhealthy use of the earphone can result in ear pain and hearing problems
The World Health Organization has says that billions of people are at risk of having hearing problems as a result of the frequent use of earphones. They've also stated that apart from the loud sounds banging directly into the ear, these earphones create avenues through which disease-causing organisms find their way into our body through the ear.
Here is a list of possible dangers that could affect regular earphone users:
- Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
- Excessive ear wax
- Ear infection
How to Use Earphones
However we do not want to turn a blind eye to the benefits which earphones have, having known that it is not suitable to be used while driving, we do want to use it in a manner that is safe and comfortable for all. Below are some ways in which earphones could be used in a manner that is convenient for ones use.
- Turning the volume down: A clear move that could be made to protect the ear would be reducing the volume of our gadgets. Limiting our exposure to these loud sounds can reduce our risk faced.
- Reducing exposure: Alongside turning volume down, reducing the amount of time in which the ears are exposed to these direct sounds could offer some form of safety.
Note: One healthy rule to always keep in mind is "Do not listen to sounds louder than 60% for longer than 60 minutes at a time".
Over the years, numerous deaths and accidents have resulted on Nigerian roads, as a result of distracted driving. Sadly law enforcement agencies along with individual drivers have made this issue a deadly epidemic as a result of their negligence. The FRSC, along with other agencies must become more impactful in not just enacting mandatory laws to curb distracted driving, but should also enforce these laws appropriately.
Individual drivers around the country should also be enlightened about the consequences of their actions, this would not just reduce the work of the FRSC but drastically reduce the rate at which drivers become distracted.
We hope that you have had for yourself the answer for Is Driving with your earphones illegal in Nigeria. Check out more articles like this in our Tips & Advice section.