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Maryland, Massachusetts join ranks of hands-free states

October 12th, 2010 No comments

This month, Maryland and Massachusetts both had laws banning talking while driving become effective Oct. 1.

In Maryland, handheld phones are banned while driving, so drivers must avoid calls or use a hands-free speaker system. The state already had a ban on texting while driving last year.

For Massachusetts, drivers cannot text while driving, and news drivers ages 16 and 17 cannot use a phone or any electronics while driving. Drivers 18 and older can still talk while driving but are required to keep one hand on the steering wheel.

State by state, it’s becoming a nationwide ban on texting while driving. And in several states, talking on handheld phones is against the law.

Keep up with the changes by following Parrot on Twitter (@Parrot_US). Remember, the purchase of a speaker system can be a lot less costly than a traffic ticket!

Summer Road Trip? Five States Enacting Hands-Free Laws

July 2nd, 2010 No comments

Four states – Michigan, Nebraska, Wyoming and Iowa – have new hands-free laws that went into effect on July 1. Georgia follows closely behind, with its law scheduled for July 15.

Signed into law in April when Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the law prohibits reading, typing or texting while driving a vehicle. Parrot, with North American headquarters in Southfield, Mich., encouraged employees to sign Winfrey’s “No Phone Zone” pledge.

Drivers in Wyoming are now banned from texting, reading or writing on handheld devices while driving.

Iowa’s law prohibits drivers from reading emailing and texting while operating a vehicle. Also, drivers with a restricted, graduated or minor-school license cannot use a handheld mobile device while driving for any reason.

In Nebraska, texting while driving is a secondary offense with a $200 fine and three points removed from a driver’s license.

And finally, beginning July 15, adults and young drivers in Georgia are prohibited from reading, typing and texting while driving. Young drivers are prohibited from making calls in addition to the other bans.

To keep drivers’ hands on the wheel and focused on the road, Parrot’s hands-free options include the Parrot Minikit Slim that requires no installation, and the Parrot MKi9200, an installed hands-free kit that also streams music.

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

And during this holiday week (July 1 is Canada Day and July 4 is America’s Independence Day), keep your hands on the wheel and be mindful of state-by-state laws as you travel. For less than the cost of a ticket (and no points!), you can be hands-free.

Hands-free kits for hands-free states and provinces

June 28th, 2010 No comments

Has your state or province recently enacted a hands-free law? With 25 states and counting in the U.S. and several provinces in Canada that now have primary or secondary offenses for those driving and texting or talking on a handheld device, drivers are realizing that they need to quickly find a solution to keep communicating while commuting.

If your car doesn’t come equipped with Bluetooth, a headset earpiece is not your only option. Parrot has plug-and-play and installed hands-free options to keep you talking and listening to your music while in the car. Here are a couple of options:

Parrot Minikit Slim: a portable Bluetooth hands-free kit that can be used in the car, in the office and at home. It’s highly intuitive, so it automatically connects to a Bluetooth phone when nearby. The Minikit Slim also automatically imports your address book and assigns voice tags to each entry, so you can start off calling people by saying the name. And it pairs with up to five phones if you have family members that may use your vehicle.

Parrot MKi9200: a Bluetooth hands-free system with a high-resolution color screen. The MKi9200 also imports your address book and assigns voice tags. It’s also compatible with all music sources, such as iPods, iPhones, USB flash drives, Bluetooth stereo (A2DP) phones and MP3 players. The color screen displays the caller’s number and image that’s in your address book. For music, it displays the album cover and name of the song.

Earpieces aren’t your only option when it comes to hands-free. If you’re considering an installed option, look for a Parrot Certified Installer.

Texting while driving bans spread across U.S., globe

June 24th, 2010 No comments

Individual states continue to review and enact new hands-free driving laws, and now worldwide organizations are paying attention to distracted driving issues.

With the news recently that the United Nations has banned texting while driving by its nearly 90,000 employees, the issue of texting while driving is becoming a global issue.

In the United States, half of the states have some form of ban on texting while driving, a number that continues to change rapidly. Recently, Maryland announced it will ban handheld devices on Oct. 1.

To keep up-to-date on laws by state, Hands-Free Info keeps track of each state’s hands-free laws. Hands-Free Info also has a great distracted driving blog.

In addition to texting, some states are also looking at banning headphones behind the wheel.

We at Parrot think the best course of action is to pull over or wait until you’ve reached your destination to take a call or look at your mobile device. And of course, the best way to listen to your iPod or MP3 player is to connect it to your audio system.

Remember to always be hands free, no matter which state or province you live in.

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.

-via www.handsfreeinfo.com

Nebraska and Kentucky ban texting

April 20th, 2010 No comments

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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.

Via Handsfreeinfo.com: http://handsfreeinfo.com/kentucky-nebraska-texting-la

Alberta Unveils Distracted Driving Law

April 20th, 2010 No comments

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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.”

Via Handsfreeinfo.com: http://handsfreeinfo.com/alberta-distracted-driving-law

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 www.handsfreeinfo.com : http://handsfreeinfo.com/iowa_texting_cell_phones

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

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Canada Cell Phone Legislation by Province

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Legislation chart 1-18-10

Legislation by State

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