Florida’s brand new texting while driving law has been in the news lately, and for good reason—it is a significant change to the law to make it a primary offense, punishable by fines. You might be surprised, however, to learn that you are still legally allowed to wear one headphone or AirPod while you’re driving in the state of Florida.
This might seem like an odd distinction to make—it is illegal to wear two headphones at once, but the law says nothing about just wearing one. According to Florida statute 316.304, “No person shall operate a vehicle while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing. This rule does not apply, however, to “any person using a headset in conjunction with a cellular telephone that only provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear.”
Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea
It is important to note that just because you can listen to music through a single headphone or AirPod while you’re driving doesn’t mean you should. You are better off just playing the sound through your vehicle’s stereo system instead. Noises in-ear can still be more of a distraction than what you’d experience listening to the music through your soundsystem, and are still more likely to block out other important sounds around you, including horns and sirens.
And of course, wearing headphones in both ears is not just illegal, but dangerous. A person who is discovered to have been wearing headphones while in an accident they caused could find themselves liable in that scenario.
For more information about what you should do if you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact an experienced Bradenton, FL personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernadnez & Walsh.