Can I Drive While Using Headphones or Earbuds in Florida?

As experienced Miami car accident lawyers, we handle numerous car accident cases on behalf of various victims (by appointment). The aftermath of such accidents is usually devastating and life-threatening. From TBIs to broken bones, spinal cord injuries, etc., managing a car collision injury is financially and emotionally draining. In some cases, victims may not make it out alive.

The good news is that automobile accidents in Miami, Florida, are preventable if everyone obeys traffic laws. Unfortunately, many motorists neglect these laws and disregard the safety of others on the road. This is evident in speeding, drunk driving, and running red lights. It’s also apparent in the number of distracted drivers we encounter now and again.

Many motorists have switched from hand-held devices to hands-free ones such as headphones and earbuds to avoid blame for distracted driving. This article will examine Florida’s laws about using headphones and earbuds while driving.

Is It Legal to Drive With Headphones or Earbuds in Florida? 

Many motorists believe that they can multitask on the highway, especially if there aren’t any oncoming vehicles or heavy traffic. They may also believe that it’s safer to use hands-free devices compared to hand-held ones on the road. Those assumptions are only partially correct. 

It’s possible to multitask on the roads without causing any accidents. It’s also safer to use hands-free devices than holding your phones and handling the steering wheels simultaneously. However, the truth remains that driving requires 100% dedication of the five senses to the road. 

Crashes happen in seconds, and using headphones and earbuds affects a driver’s attentiveness and limits their reaction time. Loud music on earbuds and hand-held phones makes hearing outside noises difficult.

To that end, Florida makes it illegal for drivers to use earbuds, headphones, and other listening devices on the roads. This rule extends to other road users such as cyclists. Anyone who disobeys this rule is at risk of a criminal charge.

There are, however, some exceptions to this rule: 

  • Police officers can use headsets and other communication devices in performing their legal duties 
  • Drivers can use headsets connected to cell phones on only one ear while leaving the other free to hear surrounding noise 
  • Auditorily impaired persons can use hearing aids 
  • Emergency vehicle drivers (e.g., fire truck drivers) can wear protective devices on their ears 
  • Motorcyclists can wear safety helmets with in-built speakers so long as the speakers aren’t directly on the ears
  • Applicants for a motorcycle license can use state-approved headsets for their examination 
  • Bicyclists can use headphones on specific bush paths 

It’s worthy of note that pedestrians can use earbuds and headphones on sidewalks in Florida. Again, when bicyclists use sidewalks, they’re regarded as pedestrians. Therefore, they can legally use their earbuds and headphones in such situations.

Legal Doesn’t Always Mean Safe 

As we’ve examined above, Florida’s laws allow drivers to use hands-free devices on limited occasions. However, this only makes them legal, but not necessarily safe. As such, motorists may still cause accidents and increase road users’ exposure to damage while legally wearing earbuds and headphones. That’s even when they use them as safely as possible.

In addition, legal use of earbuds and headphones doesn’t absolve drivers of liability in an accident. As long as there’s evidence that their distracted driving caused the crash, they’ll be responsible for compensation. Generally, therefore, it’s best for drivers to never use earbuds and headphones under any circumstances.

Who Is Responsible for Distracted Driving Accidents? 

Determining liability in headphone-related crashes is essential in a claim or lawsuit. The liable party in such cases depends on the specifics of each case. To be sure, victims must speak with their Florida personal injury lawyers. 

Generally, however, a person’s liability for an accident depends on the existence of the following characteristics: 

  • Presence of a Duty of Care 

Every Florida motorist owes a duty of care to other road users. That means that other road users’ safety must be paramount in every driver’s mind as they drive. 

  • Breach of Duty of Care 

The second element in a car accident case is a breach of the duty of care. This happens when a driver shows disregard for other road users. For example, a driver playing loud music in both ears while driving is putting other motorists and pedestrians in danger.

  • Injuries or Damages

In every personal injury case, the claimants must prove that they suffered some injuries from the accident. Injuries may include physical injuries and property damages.

  • Causation 

Claimants must show that the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. They will receive no compensation for injuries that happened due to other reasons. That’s even when the injuries occurred close to the time of the accident.

Another consideration when it comes to determining liability is Florida’s fault system. Florida uses the comparative fault rule that shares liability among motorists based on the degree of fault. This means that more than one person can be liable for an accident. It also means that a driver’s compensation award decreases as their degree of fault increases.

What Damages Will a Victim Receive in a Florida Headphone-Related Auto Crash Claim or Lawsuit? 

Any victim who can prove a defendant’s fault in a Florida headphone-related accident can get compensation for their injuries. Depending on many factors, you can receive the following damages:

  • Medical bills. This includes ambulance charges, medications, surgeries, physical therapies, etc.
  • Lost wages and benefits. Accident injuries are often debilitating and prevent the victims from earning a living. In such a case, the victim will receive compensation for their lost earnings. This also includes lost future wages, salaries, or benefits.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life 
  • Disfigurement damages, etc.
  • Punitive damages. This type of compensation is only awarded in courts. It punishes the defendants for their careless actions and warns the public against the same actions.

What To Do After a Headphone-Related Accident in Florida

Even when you have a good case, taking the wrong steps can negatively impact your claims. Here’s what to do after an earbud-related accident:

  • Park your vehicle in a safe place, away from the road.
  • Call for emergency medical attention. 
  • Dial law enforcement. A police report can help to prove your claims later on.
  • Exchange contact information with other drivers and passengers in the crash.
  • Take photos and videos of the accident scene. They will form the bulk of the evidence in your case.
  • Interview and record witnesses’ statements. Anyone present at the crash site when the accident happened is a witness.
  • Call your injury attorneys. They will guide you on how to best handle your claims.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Miami, Florida, ASAP 

Florida’s traffic laws mandate drivers to prioritize safety on the roads. When drivers neglect these laws and cause accidents, they may be liable for damages. As a victim of such crashes, you can seek compensation for your injuries through an attorney’s help. The more experienced your lawyers are, the more likely you will win your case for maximum compensation. That’s why you must only contact our car accident lawyers at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers.  As excellent lawyers in Miami, we will secure the best compensation for your case, no matter how complicated it seems (by appointment only). Consult with us immediately by calling (561) 800-8000.

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