Florida law allows drivers to use cell phones while driving. While many states have outlawed the use of cell phones to text or even talk without a hands-free device, Florida has not done so. However, Florida has passed a law making it illegal to use headphones while driving any vehicle. This applies not only to people using headphones to make telephone calls but to any use that a headphone might have.
The law does not even specify that any sound needs to be coming out of the earpieces; merely having the headphones in your ears while driving is enough to be pulled over. For anyone interested in knowing more about how these laws may affect any personal injury cases, contact an experienced car accident lawyer. A local car accident attorney can help give you clarification on why it is important to follow safety laws while on the road.
Violations of Florida Headphone Laws
Florida Statute 316.304 explicitly states that no person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphones, or any listening device. A vehicle, of course, includes cars, trucks and SUVs, but also includes motorcycles, bicycles and skateboards. For this reason, a police officer may stop an individual while they are riding a bicycle if they are listening to music. There are a few exceptions to this rule, including motorcyclists who are wearing a helmet, or people using a one-year, hands-free device.
In short, an earpiece is allowed if the driver still has one ear open to hearing the sounds of the road. Any person accused of breaking this law will be charged with a noncriminal traffic violation. This law exists because being able to hear what is going on around a vehicle while driving is just as important as being able to see. An individual cannot possibly see 360 degrees around them all the time. To compensate for this, one relies on hearing to listen for squealing tires, screeching brakes, and emergency sirens.
Distractions Due to Headphone Use
When listening to music, podcasts, or even making telephone calls, people become easily distracted. This effect is amplified when people are surrounded by the noise when using headphones. This distraction causes countless accidents every year and Florida’s law prohibiting the use of headphones while driving is an attempt to bring down this number. In short, never drive any vehicle while using headphones – even a bicycle or skateboard. Not only is it dangerous, it is also illegal and police can issue you a ticket.