The use of headphones or earbuds has become so common that many people want to know if it is illegal to drive with headphones in Florida.
Many people believe that it should be legal because it will allow them to operate their phones hands-free.
However, the answer to the question “is it illegal to drive with headphones” is no.
You cannot operate any vehicle when you have headphones or any listening devices like earbuds in your ears. Florida Statute 316.304 expressly prohibits the use of headphones or earbuds when operating any vehicle on the road.
Why Is It Illegal To Wear Headphones While Driving?
Drivers already face so many other issues when operating a vehicle that inhibiting their hearing can lead to an accident. The driver must be able to hear what is going on around them to ensure that they operate their vehicle safely at all times.
When your hearing is not obstructed, you can hear things like emergency vehicles so that you can move out of their way, or if something else is happening around you, such as another car being involved in an accident, so that you can protect yourself from danger.
Is It Illegal To Wear Earbuds While Driving?
Yes. Florida strictly prohibits using earbuds while driving, even though they do not cover your entire ear. The only exception to this law is when you have a single earpiece that allows you to communicate with your phone or a central base of operations.
It is important to understand that this does not mean that you can operate a vehicle with only one of your regular earbuds or only one headphone piece covering your ear. The law strictly forbids using any of these devices unless they are designed to be used in only one ear.
Is It Legal To Wear Earbuds While Driving A Motorcycle?
No. The only type of listening devices that can be worn legally when operating a motorcycle are those that are built into the helmet so that the driver can still hear traffic noises around them. The speakers in the helmet must not “enclose” the ears to be legal.
Is It Legal To Wear Headphones While Riding A Bicycle?
No. Florida laws include operating a bicycle the same as operating any motorized vehicle on the roads. Lawmakers felt that cyclists need to be just as aware of their surroundings.
There have been some challenges to this law to see if it covered people on skateboards since these were “moving vehicles” very similar to a bicycle. At this time, skateboards have not been included in the law.
Can You Wear Headphones While Operating Commercial Vehicles?
The only time you can have your ears covered is when someone is operating a fire truck or similar emergency vehicle. The sirens on these vehicles can damage your hearing if you do not have protection over your ears while sitting in the fire truck.
Otherwise, it is illegal to wear headphones or earbuds when operating any commercial vehicle.
Can You Wear Headphones While Driving Operating Off-Road Vehicles?
Since these vehicles are intended to be operated off-road, the law may not directly apply to these vehicles. However, if a person is distracted while operating one of these vehicles and causes an accident, they could still be held liable for the negligent act. It will always be in your best interest to never operate any vehicle with headphones or earbuds on.
Headphone Use While Driving Is Considered Distracted Driving
If you are caught using headphones or earbuds while operating a vehicle, you can be charged with distracted driving. Florida laws classify the use of these items as a distraction, and you can be charged with this offense.
If you are wearing any of these devices and are involved in an accident, you could be held liable for the accident as being a distracted driver. This could significantly impact your driving record or any type of legal case that arises from the accident.
Have You Been Injured By A Distracted Driver?
Distracted driving is now the leading cause of vehicular accidents in the United States.
If a distracted driver has injured you, you may have the right to file a claim for compensation for your injuries and losses.
If you have been involved in a Florida car accident where the driver was distracted, you should speak with a personal injury attorney about your injuries. Contact Landau Law today for a free consultation.