Posts Tagged ‘hands-free driving’

Distracted driving: it’s not only about talking on the phone

August 23rd, 2010 No comments

You hear it all in the news – people getting into traffic accidents for talking on the phone, texting while driving and now tweeting while driving. Police are investigating if plastic surgeon Frank Ryan tweeted while driving as he headed over a cliff and died in California.

It’s becoming an ongoing issue to the extent that the U.S. Department of Transportation is planning a second Distracted Driving Summit.

Parrot supports Oprah “No Phone Zone” movement and encourages drivers to pull over if they need to text, email or engage in a serious conversation.

When you have to take or make a call from the car, use a hands-free device, and encourage your friends and family to do the same. There are enough distractions and hazards to pay attention to while driving, and updating your status shouldn’t be one of them.

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.


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.”


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.

Don’t miss that call!

October 7th, 2009 No comments

Taking an important call while driving can be tricky if you don’t have a hands-free car kit.

Dropping the phone, losing contact and losing sight of the road can happen to anyone if you don’t have hands-free capabilities.