Is it OK to wear a mask while driving? Trooper Steve lays down the law

Trooper Steve answers viewer questions

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, is it illegal to wear a mask while driving?

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road, helping Orlando-area residents become better drivers by being better educated.

A viewer recently asked, “Is there anything illegal about wearing a mask while driving?”

Wearing masks or other face coverings is common amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it’s encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to Montiero, though, there are a few things drivers should know about using masks behind the wheel.

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“This is the one thing I was afraid to talk about these days. Who would have known in 2020, when and where to wear a mask would be so controversial? I’m only here to talk about wearing a mask while driving, so be easy on me,” Montiero said.

Montiero explained that health officials recommend wearing masks in public, especially in places where they may be a lot of people and it’s difficult to practice social distancing. However, there are some places you likely wouldn’t wear one.

“We wear a mask in large, populated areas to slow the spread of COVID-19 or another illness,” Montiero said. “But if you were walking on a trail or even doing things around the house, you probably wouldn’t be wearing a mask. The same would apply in the car when you’re alone.”

Montiero said it’s also about your safety behind the wheel.

“Then comes the distracting factor. I have seen every version of face coverings: good ones, bad ones and ones that make you go, ‘What the honk?’ I worry that they could become something you’d pay more attention to than driving your car, especially if you’re alone and don’t need to wear it in the first place,” Montiero said.

He said face mask safety not only has to do with how you wear one, but how you store the face covering when you’re not using it.

“We need to stop hanging them from the rearview mirror. For the exact same reason you are not supposed to hang your disabled driving placard from the rearview mirror because it can be visually distracting, same thing would apply with these masks.” Montiero said. “Let’s use some common sense and we can get through this mess.”

Do you have a traffic-related question for Trooper Steve? Click here to ask.

About the Author:

Steven Montiero, better known as “Trooper Steve," joined the News 6 morning team as its Traffic Safety Expert in October 2017. A Central Florida native and decorated combat veteran, Montiero comes to the station following an eight-year assignment with the Florida Highway Patrol.