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  • Driving with ear phones or ear buds

    I would like to know the legality of driving while listening to an mp3 player via ear phones or ear buds, particularly in MD, VA, & DC.

    Hands-free units for cell phones usually cover one ear, by that logic is listening to an mp3 player with only one ear bud acceptable?

    While thinking about this it raised the question can deaf people drive legally?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Code of VA § 46.2-1078.

    One ear is acceptable....

    § 46.2-1078. Unlawful to operate motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped while using earphones.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on or in both ears.

    For the purpose of this section, "earphones" shall mean any device worn on or in both ears that converts electrical energy to sound waves or which impairs or hinders the person's ability to hear, but shall not include (i) any prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing, (ii) earphones installed in helmets worn by motorcycle operators and riders and used as part of a communications system, or (iii) nonprosthetic, closed-ear, open-back, electronic noise-cancellation devices designed and used to enhance the hearing ability of persons who operate vehicles in high-noise environments, provided any such device is being worn by the operator of a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the driver of any emergency vehicle as defined in § 46.2-920.



    Hearing-impaired can operate a motor vehicle, and also can apply for special HI tags, which greatly assist the officer on a traffic stop.

    GET THE BUDS OUT OF YOUR EARS!!!!!


    You could have looked this up yourself on the internet!!
    "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" -George Orwell

    "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing diapers." - Blues Brothers

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    • #3
      Originally posted by thisisme123 View Post
      While thinking about this it raised the question can deaf people drive legally?

      Thanks
      You beat me to it. When I saw this title, I was going to make the point that deaf people can drive legally, but driving with ear buds is illegal in Kansas.

      While there is no doubt that doing so would limit your ability to hear a horn or emergency vehicle siren. But so does listening to music turned all the way up (perfectly legal in my state) and high end car markers market their cars as being as soundproof as possible. And lets face it, at speeds above 50 MPH, you aren't going to hear any siren or horn unless it is encroaching on your back bumper to begin with.

      So bottom line, probably not the best plan in the world. But something I'd probably never write a ticket for.

      It's one of those laws that makes perfect sense on paper, but the pro argument falls apart when you think about it.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the quick reply. The first part of your answer was exactly what I was looking for. IE: An objective reference to the actual law.

        Originally posted by grumpyirishman View Post
        One ear is acceptable....

        § 46.2-1078. Unlawful to operate motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped while using earphones.

        It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle, bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, or moped on the highways in the Commonwealth while using earphones on or in both ears.

        For the purpose of this section, "earphones" shall mean any device worn on or in both ears that converts electrical energy to sound waves or which impairs or hinders the person's ability to hear, but shall not include (i) any prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing, (ii) earphones installed in helmets worn by motorcycle operators and riders and used as part of a communications system, or (iii) nonprosthetic, closed-ear, open-back, electronic noise-cancellation devices designed and used to enhance the hearing ability of persons who operate vehicles in high-noise environments, provided any such device is being worn by the operator of a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the driver of any emergency vehicle as defined in § 46.2-920.



        Hearing-impaired can operate a motor vehicle, and also can apply for special HI tags, which greatly assist the officer on a traffic stop.

        Originally posted by grumpyirishman View Post
        GET THE BUDS OUT OF YOUR EARS!!!!!
        I haven't actually done this. I've seen others do it. I admit I've thought about it but I questioned the legality and eventually that's why I ended up here. I'd much rather receive an education from LEO's on officer.com versus them standing outside my window handing me a ticket.

        Originally posted by grumpyirishman View Post
        You could have looked this up yourself on the internet!!
        I did look this up on the net, but rather then trust in a million different anonymous responders repeating there own interpretation of the law I find it better to come on a law enforcement website where I can get feedback from a more reliable & knowledgeable source. Which as I see it was the main intention and largest benefit of the "ask a cop" section.

        PS: Hopefully my responses don't make me sound like too much of a smart***, as that was not my intent.
        Last edited by thisisme123; 03-17-2011, 10:24 AM.

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        • #5
          Calee Vehicle Code

          V C Section 27400 Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs
          Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs
          27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs 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.
          This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

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          • #6
            Anyone care to chime in for Maryland or DC ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by thisisme123 View Post
              Anyone care to chime in for Maryland or DC ?
              Illegal in Maryland

              Not exactly Annotated code like I wanted but a doc put out by Maryland DMV

              http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...RRPdJacC7fflGQ

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