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Can you wear headphones and drive in Florida?

If you have an older car, without Bluetooth connectivity options, you may be tempted to plug your headphones into your MP3 player while you drive. Otherwise, you're stuck with the radio or your outdated CD collection.

When you feel this temptation, make sure you remember that this is generally illegal under Florida law. You're not allowed to wear headphones since they can increase the risk of a car accident. They make it harder for you to hear what's happening around you since they're so effective at cutting out outside noises, so you could miss things like another driver honking the horn or a police car with its siren going.

It's also important to note that the law in Florida was specifically written to apply not just to cars, but to all vehicles. This includes bicycles, motorcycles, scooters and other such modes of transportation. Essentially, if you're not walking, don't wear your headphones.

There are some exceptions. For instance, some motorcycle helmets have built-in speakers that are allowed when they don't actually contact your ear. Some in-car phone systems are allowed when the headset only puts the sound into one ear. Those who need special listening devices due to hearing issues are still allowed to wear them.

On the whole, though, the use of headsets behind the wheel has been outlawed.

If you were hit by another driver who had his or her headphones on at the time of the crash, that driver may be liable. This can give you cause to seek compensation for your injuries and other damages that were suffered in the wreck.

Source: Village News, "When is wearing headphones or earphones against Florida law?," Chris McKinstry, accessed Dec. 30, 2016

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