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August 5, 2015

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Hands-free devices for cellphone law compliance

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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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