California and Washington are the latest states to pass legislation barring the use of cell phones while driving without a hands free device. As of July 1, California motorists spotted with their cell phones to their ears will face fines starting at $20 and going up to $50 with subsequent offenses. The same day, drivers in Washington state caught gabbing with phone in hand will be slapped with a $124 ticket, though in Washington, motorists can only receive a hand-held cell phone ticket as a secondary violation, meaning they must be caught for another offense, like speeding. In California's case, however, drivers can be pulled over simply for holding a cell phone to their ear.
The two states join an ever-growing list -- including Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah and others -- that have put the kibosh on talking and driving, enforcing hands free laws and policies. This year alone, lawmakers in 33 states have introduced 127 bills related to driver distraction, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Despite where you live, the message is clear: Using a cell phone while driving is distracting. The laws will also surely spark a boom in the Bluetooth and hands free car kit markets, as motorists scramble to be in compliance when their mobile phone rings while they're on the road.
In light of the new laws, ChannelWeb has rounded up the 10 hottest hands free devices that will keep your eyes and ears on the road, and hopefully help you pay better attention behind the wheel.
Plantronics Voyager 520
One of the hottest selling hands-free devices on the market today, the Plantronics Voyager 520 offers business quality audio and features a noise-cancelling microphone that filters background noise so it doesn't intrude on your conversation. The Voyager can also minimize wind noise with a built-in wind screen. The device features one-touch call controls and, if you use two Bluetooth enabled phones, multipoint technology lets you switch between them with the same headset.
The Voyager 520 offers eight hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby when fully charged. The Plantronics Voyager 520 runs around $40.