Turn Down the Volume to Reduce Accidents
Who hasn’t reached for the dial while driving and turned the radio all the way up? Maybe your favorite song just came on the radio and you need to feel the bass line literally pounding in your temples. Or maybe you’re singing with friends who are half hanging out of the car, and you want to make sure the entire neighborhood can hear the beat.
We’ve all done it at one time or another. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it okay. Driving with loud music is dangerous and possibly even illegal, depending on where you are in Nevada. What’s more, loud music is a serious distraction which can impair a driver’s performance. As a result, that throbbing bass line could cause a driver to never see a pedestrian enter a crosswalk or hit the brakes in time.
At Naqvi, we represent accident victims in their pursuit of compensation for their injuries. If you were struck by a distracted driver, we want to hear from you. Odds are good that if loud music caused a driver to collide with you, you can receive compensation for your injuries.
Is It Illegal to Blast Music in Your Car?
It depends on where you are located. Nevada has not adopted an excessive noise ordinance for the entire state. Consequently, it’s up to municipalities like cities and counties to create laws against excessive noise. The details of these laws will also vary by location.
Consider Clark County. They have defined excessive noise as pollution which can negatively impact a person’s wellbeing. If your music is audible 75 feet away, then you’ve broken the law and can be fined. This means that if you decide to drive into Clark County with the windows down and radio blaring, an officer might pull you over.
In Las Vegas, you can face charges if your music is audible 50 feet away. It might be crazy that the city that never sleeps is actually worried about too much noise, but that’s the law.
Can You Get Pulled Over for Loud Music?
Yes. If you are breaking a law, a police officer can stop you and give you a citation. It’s no different than if they see you breaking some other law. If you slapped your girlfriend in the mouth while driving and a cop saw it, they can pull you over.
There’s an assumption that police can only stop you for traffic violations when driving. They can stop you for breaking any crime, whether it is a traffic violation or not.
Can You Play Music on a Handheld Device, Like an MP3 Player?
No! Nevada has a law prohibiting the use of hand-held electronic devices like cell phones and MP3 players. If you are using one, then the police can pull you over. It’s also illegal to use one when stopped at a red light—so don’t try that, either. Nevada law enforcement is cracking down on distracted driving during the summer of 2022, so be prepared to see flashing lights in your mirrors if you choose to use a device.
Can You Wear Headphones While Driving?
Interestingly, the answer is “yes.” If you want to blast music and stay on the good side of the law, you could wear earbuds or headphones and just ruin your hearing.
Nevertheless, wearing earbuds or headphones is a terrible idea. Loud music is distracting, and headphones can muffle sounds you need to hear to drive safely. Few people realize how much they rely on auditory clues to identify where other vehicles are. If you are wearing headphones, you might miss out on these clues and crash into someone.
Is Loud Music Considered Distracted Driving?
It could be, yes. There is no general law in Nevada against “distracted driving.” However, all motorists must use reasonable care when driving a motor vehicle. If they don’t and they hit someone, they have legal liability for causing damage. This is the law of negligence and driving while distracted is one of the ways you can be negligent.
Everything depends on the circumstances, however. What’s “loud” is subjective. The real question is whether the loud music impaired your ability to drive carefully. And we have ample scientific studies which show a negative effect on driver performance.
How Does Loud Music Affect Driver Performance?
There have been several studies which have looked at how loud music impacts driving. Their results are fascinating.
For example, Canadian researchers back in 2004 found that listening to loud music caused a 20% delay in performing tasks. The louder the music, the greater the delay. When sounds reached 95 decibels (equal to the sound of an oil rig), reaction times were the slowest. This study built on an earlier study by the RAC Foundation which had found that drivers were twice as likely to miss stopping for a red light when listening to music.
Taking 20% longer to do some tasks might not sound like much of a delay. But when a vehicle is traveling fast, even a split second can matter enormously. A person might fail to swerve out of the way, tap the horn, or hit the brakes in time—leading to a collision.
Unsurprisingly, younger drivers are more negatively impacted by music. A different study in 2015 from Ben-Gurion University had 17- and 18-year-olds take two driving tests. In the first, they listened to their own playlist. In the second, they either had no music or listened to an instrumental version provided by the researchers. The teens then completed a survey on their mood and driving behavior, while an instructor also provided commentary.
The researchers found that teens were happier when driving to their own soundtrack, which they also listened to with the volume turned up. Nevertheless, these teens also made more errors while listening to their loud music. In fact, 17 of 85 participants were so negligent they required the instructor to apply the brakes or steer to prevent a collision.
By contrast, an earlier study found that drivers in their 20s and 30s were less affected by music when behind the wheel. This study was structured similarly to the one involving teens. Adult drivers made two trips—one listening to music they selected and the other while listening to no music. Researchers found that participants drove equally well in both situations. Likewise, a 2012 study from the Netherlands found that adult drivers who listened to loud music required greater mental effort to drive. However, they were able to do so safely and avoid accidents. Perhaps teens lack the mental resources at a young age to overcome the effects of loud music.
Is Blasting Music Considered Reckless Driving?
Nevada has a reckless driving statute found at NRS 484B.653. This law makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle in “willful or wanton disregard” for other people’s safety on a public road. A good way of thinking of reckless driving is that it is an even more serious form of distracted driving. You can be distracted inadvertently. But showing “willful disregard” for public safety is much more serious and borders on indifference.
It’s possible that blasting loud music could qualify—especially if you are zoning out to the music or jamming along with a song and not even looking at the road.
Compensation for Distracted Driver Accident
What happens if someone blaring their music rams your car or hits you as you are crossing the street? Can you sue?
Chances are good that you can bring a personal injury lawsuit for the accident. To be successful, we must show the driver was distracted when he or she hit you. Perhaps the presence of loud music, by itself, isn’t enough. But we can look for other sources of distraction. For example, someone listening to a loud song might be singing along with their friend in the passenger’s seat. It’s very common to look away from the road in these situations, so the driver is probably on the hook for the wreck.
Following a crash, try to document the circumstances as best you can. If you hear loud music coming from the vehicle, record a video using your smartphone. The driver might be too flustered after the crash to turn down the volume, and video could serve as good evidence the driver was distracted while out on the road.
Contact an Experienced Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Today
Naqvi Injury Law understands distracted driving accidents. Nevada law is very clear that every motorist who puts a key in the ignition must drive with sufficient care. This means giving their undivided attention to the task at hand and not zoning out or doing anything which will cause a distraction. Cranking the volume on the radio to uncomfortable levels is an example of failing to use reasonable care while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
We can help. Whether you were hit by a teen singing along to his favorite rap song or an older driver blasting metal from the 70s, you might be entitled to compensation. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.