Aug 27

When Is Wearing Headphones or Earphones Against Florida Law?

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Wearing a headset, earphones or headphones can contribute to car accidents. recently discussed how seventeen-year-old Enrique Hernandez may have been wearing his earphones when he was hit and killed by a minivan on Old Dixie Highway, near U.S. 92 as we walked to school (see prior post relating to this pedestrian accident).

According to the story, pediatrician Dr. Patrick Mularoni, with All Children’s Hospital, says the emergency room often sees young people with injuries they’ve gotten because they were distracted. He recommends kids not wear ear buds or headphones while walking at all. “If kids are walking to school with ear buds in, then they’re going to be walking distracted,” said Dr. Mularoni. “And they need to be able to pay attention to their surroundings. And if they’re not able to pay attention to their surroundings with their hearing – that’s one of their biggest senses – that’s a scary thing.”

Although it is not against Florida law to walk with headphones on (yet), it is against the law to drive a vehicle or ride a bicycle while wearing a headset, earphones, headphones or other listening device. Florida Statute 316.304 states that 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. There are a few exceptions that include a motorcyclist using a headset that is installed in a helmet and worn so as to prevent the speakers from making direct contact with the user’s ears so that the user can hear surrounding sounds and 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.

Your kids may argue that this law only pertains to “vehicles.” However, it is important to know how Florida law defines “vehicles.” Under Florida Statute 306.003(75) a “vehicle” is defined as “every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.” In this same law, a bicycle is defined as “every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor . . .”

So, follow the law and don’t wear earphones while driving a car or riding a bike. It could prevent a car accident and could save you from serious injury or death.


Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes represents those injured in car accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of personal injury matters. His Clearwater law firm – Perenich Caulfield Avril Noyes – is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Pinellas County. Call Attorney Matthew Noyes now at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

  1. AVID CYCLEST 31 Jul 2017 | reply

    TOO OFTEN, I’ve aproched a pedestrian with BOTH ear buds in while I’m on a Bicycle…Ringing A bell, yelling beeping THEY DON’T HEAR or acknowledge me in TILL right on them THIS IS A HAZARDOUS FOR BOTH OF US…an too many times I’ve fallen, cause of them ,AN THEY YELL at me…A BICYCLE IS A PEDESTRIAN while on the sidewalk By State Law….PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SURROUNDINGS ,leave one ear bud out . I won’t scare you, an you won’t be startled into me…THANK YOU.

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