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Keep graduates safe, connected with tech gadgets as gifts

June 22nd, 2010 No comments

It’s graduate season and many young adults will be moving out, either to college or to begin their careers. Graduation can mark the first time a young driver begins commuting regularly to work, to school or both.

While you’re seeking the perfect gift for your grad, the National Retail Federation says the most common gifts are cash, gift cards and electronics.

In a state with a hands-free law, and to the keep the new grad safe while on the road, a hands-free device is a must-have gadget.

The Parrot Minikit Slim is a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit that can be paired with up to five mobile phones, including automatic synchronization of every address book. Its highly intuitive interface automatically connects to a Bluetooth phone when nearby and includes voice commands for hands-free dialing and receiving calls. Fixed to the sun visor, it is easily transported from vehicle to vehicle and requires no installation.

The best part of the Minikit Slim is that it costs less than a ticket for a hands-free driving infraction. Grads like to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and gadgets, and a portable, sleek-looking hands-free device is high on the list.

Four New States Join Distracted Driving Movement

June 7th, 2010 No comments

Distracted driving legislation found favor with the governors of Georgia, Connecticut, Vermont and Kansas in recent days.

In Georgia, it was drama on deadline for the text messaging and cell phone bills approved by the Legislature. The governor threatened vetoes, citing enforcement issues. “None of this business is black and white,” Gov. Sonny Perdue said.

Safety advocates, lawmakers and students lobbied furiously in the final days of the legislative session for Perdue to sign the bills, which he did with no time to spare.

Georgia’s new distracted driving laws take effect July 1. Text messaging will be banned for all drivers. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using cell phones, regardless of whether a hands-free device is attached. Young drivers also are banned from using laptop computers and portable games. Violations will cost motorists $150.

No such problems in Connecticut, where Gov. Jodie Rell approved her own plan to toughen existing distracted driving laws. This ends the previous law’s policy of forgiveness for some first-time offenders.

Connecticut had already outlawed text messaging while driving, handheld cell phone use by adults and all cell phone use by teenage drivers. Fines for violations now increase to $100 (first offense), then $150 and $200 instead of the current $100. Also, the law’s wording specifically bans texting while driving, reportedly not clear before.

In Vermont, Gov. James Douglas signed into law a ban on text messaging and on cell phone use for drivers under 18. Fines start out at $100 for first offenders and then escalate to $250. The laws are effective immediately.

In Kansas, a ban on text messaging while driving has been signed into law by Gov. Mark Parkinson. The ban goes into effect Jan. 1.

On the local front, Clemson, S.C.; Missouri City, Texas; and Belpre, Ohio, are the latest cities to ban texting.


Parrot Supports Oprah’s ‘No Phone Zone’ Pledge to Combat Distracted Driving

May 3rd, 2010 No comments

Hands-free laws, movement draws attention to perils of texting while driving

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., April 30 /PRNewswire/ — Parrot, the market leader for wireless mobile phone devices, has voiced the company’s support of Oprah Winfrey‘s “No Phone Zone” campaign to drive awareness of the dangers of texting while driving and applauds Michigan‘s legislature for today signing a bill banning texting while driving.

April 30 is “No Phone Zone Day” and individuals can pledge not to text or use a handheld phone while driving.  To commemorate, Parrot’s U.S. employees have taken the “No Phone Zone” pledge to practice responsible driving.

“Parrot believes the best way to drive is free from all unnecessary distractions and encourages drivers to pull over before responding to a text or making a phone call,” said Kelly Zachos begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, director of marketing North America for Parrot. “If you must make a call while driving, use a hands-free device and keep both hands on the wheel.”

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.  Regardless of the repeated warnings, drivers continue to use cell phones while driving and this trend is not changing.  In fact, a study by Nationwide Mutual Insurance determined that 81 percent of cell phone owners acknowledged that they talk on phones while driving.

Parrot provides the most comprehensive suite of hands free options, from installed car stereos with a hidden iPod compartment to cordless hands-free kits that slide onto a visor.

For less than the cost of most tickets for hands-free violations, the Parrot Minikit Slim is a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit that can be used in the car, in the office and at home. Its highly intuitive interface automatically connects to a Bluetooth phone when nearby.

Other options from Parrot include the installed MKi9200, which provide hands-free calling, automatic phone book download and voice activation, as well as streaming audio from an iPod or MP3 device; and the Parrot RKi8400, a full stereo system with hidden iPhone or iPod storage and connection.

To find out more about the Parrot’s hands-free Bluetooth technology, visit


Parrot, a global leader in wireless devices for mobile phones, stands on the cutting edge of innovation. The company was founded in 1994 by Henri Seydoux as part of his determination to drive the inevitable breakthrough of mobile phones into everyday life by creating high-quality, user-friendly wireless devices for easy living. Parrot has developed the most extensive range of hands-free systems on the market for cars, motorbikes and scooters, including wireless multimedia products geared towards audiovisual applications. In 2008, Parrot launched a new prestige line of high-end products bearing the hallmark of renowned artists. Parrot, headquartered in Paris, currently employs 450 people worldwide and generates 85% of its sales overseas.

Parrot is listed on NYSE Euronext Paris since 2006.

Euronext Paris – Eurolist C: FR0004038263 – PARRO



Nebraska and Kentucky ban texting

April 20th, 2010 No comments

kentucky-map taber_No_Cell_Phones_Allowednebraska-map

Welcome Kentucky and Nebraska to the club: They’re the 22nd and 23rd states to ban text messaging while driving.

The House and Senate approved Kentucky’s ban on texting while driving April 1. Two weeks later, the bill became law.

No drama there: Gov. Steve Beshear banned text messaging for state employees in 2009. He previously called the texting plan (HB 415) “a common-sense bill to protect all Kentucky drivers.”

Kentucky’s new distracted driving rules also outlaw the use of personal communications devices by motorists under the age of 18 with learner’s permits.

Rep. Tom Riner, sponsor of HB 415, called the passage “nothing short of a miracle.”

Fines are $25 (first offense) and then $50, plus court costs. Drivers will be issued warnings until Jan. 1.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signed that state’s texting ban into law on April 13. It calls for secondary enforcement, which was a downgrade from the bill’s original intent.

Fines begin July 1. They are $200 for first offense; $300 for second; and $500 plus three points on the driver’s license for repeat violations.

Legislative Bill 945, authored by Sen. John Harms, Scottsbluff, cleared the full Legislature on April 8, in a 38-2-9 vote. Harms previously succeeded in prohibiting cell phone use and texting by drivers under 18.

Twenty-three states now have banned text messaging while driving. So far in 2010, Iowa and Wyoming also prohibited the practice.


Alberta Unveils Distracted Driving Law

April 20th, 2010 No comments


Alberta would no longer be “Canada’s traffic-safety donkey” under long-delayed legislation that would tackle distracted driving.

The province’s Tory government called the plan “some of the most comprehensive distracted driving legislation in Canada.”

Bill 16, introduced April 14, would outlaw drivers’ use of handheld cell phones (hands-free OK), as well as PDAs and other handheld electronic communications devices. Texting would be included in forbidden activities.

Alberta’s distracted driving legislation includes a ban on “personal grooming” while driving. While frequently cited (by dubious lawmakers) during distracted driving debates in North America, this is one of the few measures to seriously propose such a ban.

“Drivers can be distracted behind the wheel for many reasons other than talking on their phone,” said MLA Art Johnston, who introduced the bill. “This legislation goes beyond a simple hand-held cellphone ban.”

Also prohibited for drivers would be non-commercial use of CB radios, writing, drawing, sketching and non-transportation-related video screen watching.

(Update) A day later, the government raised the possibility that enforcement might be secondary if the law is approved — meaning police need another reason to pull over drivers before issuing a citation.

Alberta had been criticized by safety groups and some legislators for dragging its feet on distracted driving legislation while other provinces took action.

The Calgary Sun editorialized in January: “The Stelmach government keeps dangling the carrot (of distracted driving laws), and then yanking it away. … Alberta … is set to become Canada’s traffic-safety donkey once again.” The paper cited fear of drops in popularity polls as one reason for the delays.

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach cited a “busy agenda” as the reason no distracted driving legislation was proposed for 2009.

Strathcona County (east of capital Edmonton) has the province’s only law against driving while cell phoning and text messaging.

MLA Johnston, Calgary-Hays, is a former policeman who has been pushing for distracted driving for years. “I appreciate the great input of law enforcement and traffic safety stakeholders that has led to the introduction of this legislation,” he said. “This is a complex issue and I believe we have found a good balance between enforcement and safety.”


Distracted Driving Stats and Facts

April 5th, 2010 No comments


Did You Know?

Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:

  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)
  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
  • The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Examination of Driver Distraction

Driver Distraction Facts and Figures

Important information regarding driver distraction comes from records of traffic fatalities and injuries collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

System (NASS) General Estimates System (GES) show that:

  • In 2008, there were a total of 34,017 fatal crashes in which 37,261 individuals were killed.
  • In 2008, 5,870 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction (16% of total fatalities).
  • The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of the fatal crashes has increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2008.
  • The under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes (16%). The age group with the next greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the 20- to-29-year-old age group (12%).
  • Motorcyclists and drivers of light trucks had the greatest percentage of total drivers reported as distracted at the time of the fatal crashes (12%).
  • An estimated 21 percent of 1,630,000 injury crashes were reported to have involved distracted driving.

Use of Electronic Devices While Driving


  • Nationwide, those drivers observed visibly manipulating hand-held electronic devices increased from 0.7 percent to 1.0 percent.
  • Some 1.7 percent of drivers 16 to 24 years old were observed visibly manipulating hand-held electronic devices, up from 1.0 percent the previous year.
  • More drivers in Western States were observed manipulating hand-held electronic devices (2.1%) than in the other regions of the country (from 0.4% in the Northeast to 0.8% in the Midwest).
  • The use of hand-held devices increased the most in the West, from 0.6 percent in 2007 to 2.1 percent in 2008.
  • The observed use rate of hand-held electronic devices was higher among females (1.2%) than among males (0.8%).


Categories: Statistics & Facts Tags:

Iowa Texting Ban effective June 1

April 5th, 2010 No comments

Iowa became the 21st state to ban text messaging while driving as Gov. Chet Culver signed the plan into law Thursday.

The state’s public safety commissioner then presented the governor with a coffee mug that said: “Don’t Drive Intexticated.”

“We want to be the very best state in America when it comes to safe roads,” Culver said — although the Iowa texting ban was watered down to secondary-enforcement status as it made its way through the Legislature. (The measure was a compromise by the House and Senate.)

The law’s additional ban on use of all handheld electronic devices by teen drivers with learner’s permits carries primary enforcement, however, meaning police can stop and cite violators for that reason alone. With the secondary enforcement, motorists can’t be stopped simply for texting.

The law begins July 1, with a one-year warning (education) period.

Meanwhile, Kentucky legislators also approved a similar ban on texting and teen use of cell phones. The bill was sent to the governor on April 1 and is guaranteed his signature.

Iowa safety commissioner Eugene Meyer said at the signing: “We’ve now eliminated a very important distraction. Our roads are going to be dramatically safer.”

The law prohibits local governments from adopting stricter bans. Dubuque recently adopted a such a law, with the mayor noting the lack of state laws. “If we have to be the leaders, then we have to be the leaders,” he said at the time. Local lawmakers in some states with secondary enforcement mandate primary enforcement for their area.

“It’s a common-sense, bipartisan bill that will save lives, and keep Iowa drivers safe — especially our young people,” the Iowa governor said at the signing ceremony. He was joined by state troopers and police officers, as well as Democratic and Republican legislators who backed the bipartisan distracted driving bill (HF 2456)

72 percent of adults surveyed earlier in the year by the Iowa Poll/Des Moines Register responded that text messaging on the road should be a priority during the legislative season.

“The people of Iowa have had it,” said Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City. “They don’t want people texting and driving.”

Via :

Categories: Cellphone laws, State Legislation Tags:

US & Canada cell phone legislation map

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

United States Cell Phone Legislation by State

Updated 1-18-10

Legislation map PPT 1-15-10_Page_1

Canada Cell Phone Legislation by Province

Legislation map PPT 1-15-10_Page_2

Legislation chart 1-18-10

15 cell phone safety tips

October 21st, 2009 2 comments

15 cell phone safety tips from has rounded up some leading cell phone safety tips provided by traffic researchers and public safety groups. Here are 15 of the best:

Keep calls short: Drivers increasingly lose focus during lengthy cell phone calls, research shows. If the conversation lasts more than 5 minutes, hang up and call back once you’ve parked.

Get to know your phone: Fumbling through a cell phone’s menus while on the road can be extremely dangerous. Practice speed-dialing, redialing and routing calls to voice mail.

Compensate: Some studies equate cell phone driving with drunken driving. Others cite “instant aging” — that a 20-year-old’s reaction times are reduced to those of a 70-year-old’s. A University of Utah study found that when 18- to 25-year-olds were placed in a driving simulator and talked on a cellular phone, they reacted to brake lights from a car in front of them as slowly as 65- to 74-year-olds who were not using a cell phone. These are controversial findings, but everyone agrees that cell phone use impairs driving ability. Be aware that you’re not operating the motor vehicle at 100% of your ability. Compensate with extra caution.

Don’t look at caller ID: Most cell phones can be programmed to provide different ring tones for the people in your directory, such as family and friends.

Two things at a time: Many accidents are caused when cell-phoning drivers attempt to do other things — plugging in a power chord, fumbling for a pen, reading directions. Don’t compound the cell phone safety challenges.

Dial while stopped: If you must dial when the vehicle is in motion, hold the phone level with the windshield. Shift your eyes back and forth from the road to the cell phone. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says phone equipped with hands-free headsets and voice-activated dialing systems usually require more time to dial, increasing distractions.

Get an assist: Ask passengers to use their own mobile phones or to do the dialing on yours. Teach older children how to operate your cell phone.

You’ve got voice mail: If a call comes in while you’re in an intersection, entering a freeway or engaged in similar activities, let voice mail answer the cell phone.

Curb your enthusiasm: Numerous studies link the emotional content of a conversation with the level of danger while driving. This also applies to complicated, frustrating or exciting topics. If you’re upset or confused, hang up or pull over in a safe spot.

That’s a stretch: Make sure the cell phone and any accessories such as a hands-free headset are close by while driving.

Just say no: Tom Magliozzi of the popular “Car Talk” radio show says, “For non-emergencies like saying hi — checking in — or making calls you could just as easily make from your home, your office or a parking lot — take our advice and drive now, talk later.” Studies suggest that cell phone users use 60% of their airtime while driving.

Now hear this: Wireless phones often switch from one transmitter station to another during a drive. This leads to varying levels of audio quality. If reception is poor, compensate for the distraction — or better yet, hang up and call back once parked.

Watch out: Researchers in Tokyo found that when attention is focused on listening, vision is affected. The brain can’t give full attention to the visual demands of driving and the audio demands of listening at the same time. Focus on watching the road.

Watch your speed: The Swedish National Road Administration reports that drivers wearing hands-free headsets drive faster than drivers who are holding cell phones. It’s also easy for your speed to creep up while you’re dialing.

Dial in shifts: If you must enter a phone number while driving, don’t do it all at once. Dial a few numbers, return your attention to the road, and then dial the other numbers.

The message:Almost all of the above applies to text messaging, which has been banned for drivers in three states: Washington, New Jersey and now Minnesota. A 2008 survey by Nationwide insurance reported that 18% of motorists said they text-messaged while driving. It’s not just kids: The portability of office-related data has made adults dedicated multitaskers (diverted drivers), text-messaging commuters trying to get a jump on the day’s tasks.

Legislation by State

October 21st, 2009 No comments
Categories: State Legislation Tags: , ,