Through the years, technology has advanced tremendously. Today, we have vehicles equipped with navigation devices, television monitors for watching videos and of course we now have cell phones so small that you can carry them anywhere. Our cars are outfitted with all kinds of smart devices, radios and CD players. Even motorcycles have radios mounted, and helmets with listening devices installed into the framework.
There are some regulations in Florida that you should be aware of when utilizing some of these devices on the highway. Section 316.304 of our State Traffic Laws limits the use of some of these devices. It states: “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 limited exceptions to the law, such as:
Law enforcement officers using communication devices.
Persons operating motorcycles who are using headsets installed in the helmet and worn so that the speakers do not have contact with the user’s ears.
Persons using a headset in conjunction with a cellphone that ONLY provides sound through one ear.
Persons using a headset in conjunction with communicating with a central base operation that ONLY provides sound through one ear.
Motorists not observing these precautions has become such an issue lately that emergency vehicles in Bartow have been experimenting with a different kind of emergency signal that vibrates to get the attention of motorists. This keeps both you and the emergency operator safe while navigating traffic. Remember, this law is designed for your protection. It is important that you hear emergency vehicles as they are approaching.