We’ve all seen it. The multitasking driver – eating, drinking, watching the kids, and of course talking on the phone. But enough about me.
It is a regular sight on almost any street in any city, but in a short time at least one of those things won’t be so common or at the very least it won’t be legal. Within the last few years the “Hands Free” laws began picking up speed with them passing in New York, Connecticut, Washington DC, New Jersey, California and Washington state.
Texas’s new laws went into effect on September 1, 2009. They ban teens from using cell phones as well as stopping drivers from using their handheld phones while in active school zones.
There are few ways around the school zone law. The first is to simply not use your cell phone but that is much easier said than done. You are allowed to hold your cell phone to your head while the car is stopped but that defeats the purpose of DRIVING.
The solution that most drivers turned to? Getting a wired or wireless headset and microphone. These allow both hands on the steering wheel during a phone conversation. Thus the word “Bluetooth” is hot on many minds now.
Bluetooth earpieces are small devices that usually fit inside or around one ear. A speaker provides sound while a tiny microphone transmits your voice all without the magic of a wire. The range is about 30 feet so it is possible to keep your phone on a desk while walking around your office during a chat.
Dozens of manufacturers sell the gadgets ranging in price from $15 up to $200. Bells-and-whistles differentiate the products and pricing so do a bit of research before selecting one.
Online mobile accessory store Fommy.com has a wide range of Bluetooth accessories with some of the least expensive prices I have seen. The BlueAction BAE-827 weighs 8 grams (yes, grams) with a talk-time of 3 hours and a standby time of 100 hours. At $19.95 this is an incredible deal.
A leader in the Bluetooth earpiece category has been Aliph’s Jawbone. Their just-released third version dubbed PRIME offers some of the best sound and voice quality on the market. It’s sleek and stylish (think “Star Trek”) but you’ll pay a bit more for that quality at $129.95.
And if you don’t feel like walking around seemingly talking to yourself there are many car kits available that clip on a sun visor. These offer much the same functionality and can be moved from one vehicle to another.
So don’t get caught holding your chicken wing to your ear when driving through a school zone. Smile and show your Bluetooth.