You might enjoy listening to music, podcasts, or a conversation with family and friends while driving. But can you drive with headphones? Is it illegal to wear headphones while driving?
Each state has its specific traffic laws and rules of the road, and all states have cracked down on distracted and dangerous driving over the past few decades, particularly as applied to the use of electronic devices while driving. In fact, more than a dozen states strictly prohibit wearing headphones or earbuds while driving. You may be wondering: is it illegal to drive with headphones in Florida?
What Does the Law Say?
Florida is a state that regulates the use of headphones while driving. Generally, it is against the law to wear headphones while driving in Florida, as the law prohibits operating a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening devices. There are some exceptions: hearing aids, for one, are not covered by the law; also, a driver may wear a headset with a cell phone only if the headset has sound in one ear.
Essentially, the law allows you to wear only one earbud, which presumably allows you to hear surrounding sounds with your other ear. It’s important to note that Florida’s law applies to all vehicles being operated on roadways, not just cars—if you are riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle on a major road, you are also obligated not to wear headphones unless they fall under one of the exceptions listed under the law.
Not complying with this law is a noncriminal traffic infraction, one which is punishable as a moving violation, and may result in a fine of $150. But that’s not all: wearing earbuds or headphones can also result in an accident—and, if an accident occurs as a result of your wearing headphones, you might find yourself responsible and liable for damage you caused to others on the road.
Can Wearing Headphones Result in an Accident?
Avoiding an accident means the need to focus on the road entirely. There are many reasons why wearing headphones while driving is not only a bad idea but also may result in an accident or a traffic ticket. For example:
- As a result of wearing headphones, you might fail to hear an approaching emergency vehicle. This might cause you not to yield properly, resulting in a ticket or road violation.
- Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. The noise from your headphones might distract you, which may result in you causing an accident or receiving a ticket for distracted driving.
- You may fail to hear signs of mechanical problems in your vehicle. If you are unable to stop or drive safely, this in turn might make you cause an accident if your vehicle stops working properly.
- Your situational awareness may be affected, which could possibly cause you not to be able to avoid an accident that otherwise could have been avoided.
- Your reaction times may slow down, which could mean breaking traffic laws or causing an accident.
If You’re In an Accident With a Driver Wearing Headphones, How Can You Recover from Your Injuries?
If you’ve been in an accident with another driver who was wearing headphones at the time, you may be able to state a claim for negligence and recover for your injuries. To do so, you will have to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care to operate safely on the road, and breached that duty by acting negligently. You will also have to prove that the other driver directly caused your damages and injuries. And, if wearing headphones contributed to the other driver’s distracted or dangerous driving, then you will be able to include this important fact in your claim as you build your negligence case.
Being in a traffic accident with a distracted driver can cause serious injuries. If a driver is distracted or unable to drive safely because of headphone use, other parties on the road can suffer damages. These can include damage to your car or other personal property, serious personal injuries, loss of income, and even pain and suffering. A knowledgeable attorney can discuss your rights, help you weigh your options and make decisions about your claim, and determine the next steps to take to recover from your injuries.
If you have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, we will work with you to explore your options and discuss the legal process for negotiating settlement and filing a suit. FVF wants victims of car accidents to be equipped with the knowledge they need to make decisions about what is best for them, regardless of pressure from insurance companies. Contact our Orlando car accident lawyers for a free consultation about your case.