ST. CLOUD - Authorities are cracking down on drivers who wear headphones or earbuds while driving.

Sergeant Jesse Grabow with the Minnesota State Patrol says it's illegal to drive while wearing headphones in both ears in Minnesota.

"There's a state law that prevents that. Anybody who has any type of earbuds or headphones in both ears, they can be stopped and cited."

The law is in place so drivers have at least one ear available to listen for traffic noises and emergency vehicle sirens.

"Road noise is very important as far as what you're hearing and what you're able to recognize. The most important is emergency vehicles: squad cars, ambulances and anything of that sort," Grabow says.

Drivers are allowed to have one ear bud in so they can talk hands free on the phone.

The complete law states: 

Use of headphones in vehicle.

(a) No person, while operating a motor vehicle, shall wear headphones or earphones that are used in both ears simultaneously for purposes of receiving or listening to broadcasts or reproductions from radios, tape decks, or other sound-producing or transmitting devices.

(b) Paragraph (a) does not prohibit:

(1) the use of a hearing aid device by a person who needs the device;

(2) the use of a communication headset by a firefighter while operating a fire department emergency vehicle in response to an emergency; or

(3) the use of a communication headset by an emergency medical services person while operating an ambulance.