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August 27, 2014

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Hands-free devices for cellphone law compliance

Image

Richard Brian / Sun file photo

Motorists navigate rush hour traffic on Interstate 15 near the Strip.

As Oct. 1 approaches, Nevadans will need to invest in hands-free devices to use with cellphones while driving. A law passed by the Legislature this year makes it illegal to talk or text on a handheld cellphone while driving. Officers will give out warnings until Jan. 1. After that, fines are $50 for the first offense, $100 for the second and $250 for the third within seven years. Here are a few items that will help you become hands-free:

    • Cellphone Ear Bud headset
      Photo by Rebecca Clifford-Cruz/Las Vegas Sun

      Ear bud

      The most economical option for going hands-free, ear buds vary in price starting as low as $5. An ultracompact ear piece is equipped with a microphone that connects to your cellphone by a cord. Many come with adjustable pieces or cushions for the comfort factor. Many models feature noise reduction and high quality sound.

    • Boom headset
      Photo by Rebecca Clifford-Cruz/Las Vegas Sun

      Boom headset

      If you don’t like an ear bud, a boom headset is an alternative. Equipped with a microphone near the mouth, these sets provide clear communication and many models are interchangeable with office phones and computers.

    • Bluetooth earpiece
      /Las Vegas Sun

      Bluetooth headset

      Bluetooth headsets use technology that allows wireless connection to cellphones. According to Bluetooth.com, the technology is short-range communication that is simple, secure and everywhere. You can find it in billions of devices ranging from mobile phones and computers to medical devices and home entertainment products. Although these headsets have the wireless advantage, they require a battery source and need to be charged.

    • Hands Free Car Kit
      /Courtesy

      Hands-free Car Kit

      Once a hands-free car kit is installed in your vehicle, starting the car will automatically connect cellphone with Bluetooth. If you’re on the phone when you get in the car, the conversation transitions from the phone to the hands-free system. Professional kits feature components such as a box, usually mounted under the dashboard or under a seat; a microphone mounted near the visor; a speaker, usually mounted near the passenger seat; cables connected to the electrical system and a control panel used to answer and end calls, make outgoing calls, control volume and more.

      Portable car kits that plug into cigarette lighters or power outlets are an alternative that is practical for people who travel frequently and spend a lot of time in rental cars.

    • BlogWorld & New Media Expo
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      In-car technology

      Have you purchased a new vehicle in the past few years, but haven’t taken the time to learn how to operate the in-car technology? Many vehicles come equipped with technology that allows drivers to make hands-free calls, control music and other functions using voice commands. For example, General Motors vehicles offer OnStar service, and most Ford vehicles are equipped with Ford SYNC.

    • Autonomous Vehicle Google
      /Courtesy of Google

      Futuristic scenario: Autonomous vehicles

      The day may come when you’ll be able to talk or text on your handheld cellphone while your vehicle drives you around. Nevada was the first state to legalize autonomous vehicles — self-driving cars equipped with an autopilot system capable of driving without a human operator. The technology is still in its infancy. Auto companies have begun testing driverless systems, and General Motors recently said it could have models by 2015, with consumers using them my 2018. Google has a test fleet of autonomous vehicles that by October last year had driven 140,000 miles without incident. It’s not far-fetched to think these vehicles will join us in traffic in the next decade.

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    1. mred. That was an article, not a true study. If you will notice even your article states that those using hands free received less traffic tickets.

      There needs to be a true study, not just someone asking college students about their driving experiences.

    2. My "accessory": An app on my phone that will convert text to speech, and back again. If I want to activate the function, I press a button. When I want to send, I push a button. That's all it takes for the accessory to qualify for the exception under the law. And it was free.

    3. Yes, I agree, the fines are way too low. I'm waiting for the day when signals are blocked from the driver's seat.

    4. lak9nv,

      It is not illegal to drive with ear buds or headsets. According to the NV Driver Handbook, cyclists should not wear a headset or headphones, but there is no mention of this for drivers.

      Rebecca

    5. Another way to get money from the public. If fees, fines or tickets are not increased. Let's fined a new way too get money... I got it, punish people using their phone while driving. There was a study that came out showing people on cell phones while driving causes no more accidents than any other driver. The government study, said, if a state already has fines on the books not to remove them. That was about a week after Nevada passed their ticket for cell phone use.... Another citizens rights lost, for a politicians new laws

    6. This law will never withstand constitutional muster the first time it is challenged, particularly with Google phones that can text via voice command. I can get a Google phone, connect it to my "hands-free" device, and "text" all day and night.

      These anti-cell crusaders are wasting taxpayer time and money. Until the DMV employs real driver training and annual testing, your safety on the road is entirely up to you. If you are relying on a cell phone law to make you safe, well, then you are asking for trouble.

    7. "This law will never withstand constitutional muster the first time it is challenged..."

      James_P_Reza -- you're not factoring an utterly corrupt bench and bar whose main job seems to be to keep the money flowing out of our pockets into the state's. Aaronboy is right on with that one.

      Like you, as an adult I resent being treated like I need a nanny.

      "If the exercise of constitutional rights will thwart the effectiveness of a system of law enforcement, then there is something very wrong with that system." -- Escobedo v. State of Illinois, 378 U.S. 478, 490 (1964)

    8. "driving is a privilege not a right."

      stephenrblv -- you obviously know little about what it means to be a citizen. The "privilege" thing is purely statutory in origin, and a natural consequence of our grandparents buying into the B$ of licensing drivers.

      The federal Constitution covers it in the catch-all in the Bill of Rights' unenumerated rights clause, I think that's the Ninth Amendment. Freedom to travel and movement can be traced back to the Magna Carta. What we're really talking about here is one's right to travel on the public right of way, in their private conveyance for private purposes. But government long ago learned in its quest for power it can chill our liberties and make a bunch o' bucks in the process. After all, what are you going to do, sue it?

      So long as We the people act like livestock We can only expect to be herded.

      "Our citizens have a right to go where they please." -- from Thomas Jefferson's letter to the President, Philadelphia, April 2, 1791