I probably should have done this research before I drove to Deniliquin yesterday, but I ended up doing it afterwards and was slightly surprised by what I found.
I do not, at this time, have a working car stereo, so have been relying on my iPod for audible entertainment during long and longish trips, and have been slightly concerned that such action may provoke a negative reaction from the police and incur a fine, however as I do not believe that it hinders my ability to drive, and instead makes it possible to concentrate for longer periods of time (I would have been very bored without it), it was worth running the risk.
Last night, as the topic was starting to annoy me, I decided to do some research and found that it is perfectly legal in Australia to use an iPod (or other device) with earphones while driving, despite the fact that it can potentially block out external noises.
When I thought about this, it made perfect sense as deaf people are able to drive (although I don’t understand how anyone can teach a deaf person to drive) and they can’t hear a thing, either inside or outside their vehicle, and to the same extent, it is legal to block out external noises with a car stereo (within prescribed environmental noise limits).
Apparently the same can’t be said about using an iPod in this manner in the US, where most states have outlawed it for reasons which don’t make much sense to me.
A word of warning though, much like the use of any device, if an iPod is distracting you from your driving, and you cause an accident, you can be charged with negligent driving.
This is general information only and does not consider your needs and circumstances, nor is it a substitute for professional legal advice. You should seek professional legal advice before acting on any advice given herein.