Lawmakers want hands-free devices required in vehicles - New York News

Lawmakers want hands-free devices required in vehicles

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ATLANTA -

Research shows cell phones were reported in 18 percent of distraction related traffic deaths in the United States. Two Georgia bills are floating around the Georgia House and Senate that would require you to use a hands-free device when driving and talking on the phone.

Georgia could join 16 other states that have, in some part, banned hand held cell phone use while driving. If they do, it may cost you if you don't already have a hands free device.

Atlanta driver Jim Bunch never gets in his car without his Bluetooth.

"I find it very unsafe to be driving down the highway and not using one," said Bunch.

According to Distraction.gov, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

"I would recommend a Bluetooth 100 percent of the time, just to put away all the nonsense as far as driving goes," said Marcquon Weems of Best Buy mobile sales.

Several Georgia lawmakers are working to make hands-free devices the law. If passed, both House Bill 31 and Senate Bill 110 would make it illegal not to have a hands free device in the car.

Experts say if you just need something basic, you want to look for comfort and call clarity. Those can run as low as $30.

"You don't have to have all the features for the Bluetooth on there. Some people just use it for basic use," said Weems.

But you can get a device with more advanced features.

"They're usually looking for a Bluetooth that can do music, can do email and text messaging as well too, because text messaging is important," Weems said.

The fancy features will cost you. They range anywhere from $80 to $170.

"The better ones are usually the higher end ones, the ones that can do the most." Weems said.

If you don't like the earpieces, there are also devices that clip onto your visor. Some are built into the vehicle.

"Say, if you have a navigation app on your phone, it's going to read those navigation directions to you while you're driving," said Weems.

Bunch says law or not, hands-free is the way to go.

"There's no reason for you not to use it, and it's so just so much safer," Bunch said.

A similar house bill failed last year. Lawmakers have not moved beyond the 2010 ban on texting while driving. Police say enforcing the texting ban has been difficult. Bill sponsors say it would be easier to enforce the hands-free law because drivers seen holding a phone could be cited.

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