That’s how it could be for YOU on or after July 1st of 2008, roughly 90 days from now, when California’s new law takes effect that prohibits using a hand held phone while driving. And if you are under 18, even using a hands free phone is prohibited. (Click here for a FAQ by the California Highway Patrol)
In reading the FAQ, it doesn’t appear that the fines will break the bank or even add points to your driving record, but imagine the embarrassment of being pulled over with clients in the car, or even worse, being late for an appointment because you were getting a ticket for making the call in the first place!
Better safe than sorry. So, I did some research on the various ways that you could comply with the law and STILL make those important calls.
First of all, many automobiles have a hand free calling feature built in. If you are driving a late model GM car with OnStar, you will find that it has the capability to make hands free calls built right into the OnStar System. Click here for details.
Many other autos have a Bluetooth feature built in that allows the car’s audio system to interact with your Bluetooth enabled cell phone. Check with your dealer to see if your car and your cell phone are compatible with each other. If they are, just get the dealer to set it up for you and you can sail right by July 1st with no cares.
Another way to get into compliance with the new law is to use a portable GPS system that offers hands free calling through the GPS unit via your phone’s Bluetooth capabilities. Here are links to two reviews that will help you decide which unit to buy. Click here or click here.
Yet another way to beat the heat, is to install a car kit, which will let your car talk to your cell phone the way that Lexus, Mercedes and GM cars do. Go to http://www.car-kit.com for some ideas.
Finally, there is the ability to hook up a headset (The new law says that you can’t cover both ears) either with a Bluetooth headset or a wired headset.
Here are some links to the 4 major Bay Area Cell Carrier’s web site pages to shop for headsets.
Verizon – Hands free accessory page
Sprint – Hands free accessory page
Whichever way you decide to go, get on it right away so that when the day comes that you have to use it, you will already be familiar with it!
Please post a comment and tell me how you plan to deal with the new law.