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California Prohibits Earphones While Driving

Headsets - Copyright: Wavebreak Media Ltd

2016 Update

California law previously prohibited headset covering, and earplugs in, both ears while driving. An update to this law next year (2016) also prohibits earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears.

The new Law

A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:

  • (a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.
  • (b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.
  • (c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.
  • (d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer’s ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
  • (e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

Photo Copyright: Wavebreak Media Ltd

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