Although wearing headphones while driving is not explicitly illegal, the practice is dangerous and could result in prosecution if deemed to be the cause of an accident.
A distraction, including wearing headphones emitting loud music while driving, could come under NSW Road Rule 297(1). This section of the Road Rules is a catch all provision that covers any distraction that causes a driver not to have proper control of a vehicle and, for example, have an accident.
Drivers should always be alert to what is happening around them. By using headphones, the driver is likely to be less aware of the surrounding traffic conditions.
If you wear headphones that dull or block out other sounds, you may not hear sirens or horns, which could get you and other drivers into big trouble. It’s simple, your hearing is an essential tool in your overall driving skills package.
Mobile phone laws
Keep in mind that if you are also a learner, P1 and P2 licence holder, you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all. This include the use of music and audio functions. The rules are different for unresticted licence holders, who can use music or audio functions provided the phone is either secured in a cradle fixed to the vehicle; or can be operated without touching any part of the phone.
The use of a mobile phone while driving, even if considered legal in certain instances is still dangerous as it can lead to slower reaction times and ultimately a distraction for drivers.