Archive for June, 2010

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.

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.