The Lawyer Gets Schooled

I’m a fan of electronic gadgets and everything Bluetooth. I recently purchased Bluetooth headphones that have an excellent sound quality, especially for the modest price that they were. They’re large and unsightly, but when I wear them which is around the house or in the car, I’m not really bothered by the appearance, as they dramatically enhance my listening pleasure.

Recently I carried the headphones into the office and mentioned to our assistant Kaitlin that I use them in the car (because they have a built in microphone for helping to make telephone calls), she asked me whether or not driving with headphones on was prohibited. Not knowing the answer off the top of my head, I asked her to research the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code for the answer, which she promptly went off to do.

Much to my dismay, when she came back with her findings, it appears that headphone and earbud use while operating a vehicle is prohibited under Section 3314 of the Motor Vehicle Code which states:

‘No driver shall operate a vehicle while wearing or using one or more headphones or earphones.’

There is, naturally, an exception for hearing aids and for a cell phone headset “… that provides sound through one ear and allows surrounding sounds to be heard with the other ear…”

Even if a driver is only using one earbud of a set that’s designed for both ear usage, this is a violation of the Motor Vehicle Code. While there are no license points involved currently, the violation is a summary offense which can result in a fine of up to $300 plus costs.

Consider this when driving. I know I for one will be leaving my headphones at home. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or call us.

Allan Opsitnick

Author: opsitnickslaw

Allan J. Opsitnick J.D. and B.A. Degrees, University of Pittsburgh

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