Email Us

Get into Gear with a Hands Free Solution

January 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Auto


Auto_hands_free_0On Oct. 26, 2009, Ontario joined the growing number of jurisdictions around the world to introduce a distracted-driving law. Among other things, the new law makes it illegal to drive while using any kind of hand-held phone, PDA or other device such as a GPS or MP3 player. The period between the introduction of the law until the end of January 2010 is being used to educate drivers about the new law before police start issuing fines on Feb. 1, 2010.

While the law does apply to all devices, the most common cause of hand-held-device-related accidents is people making phone calls, texting and performing other operations on their cellphones while driving. Numerous studies on the effect of distracted driving have shown that sidetracked drivers are up to 20 times more likely to have an accident than more focused drivers. Over 90 per cent of all accidents are caused by driver error, including distracted driving; in the United States alone, distracted driving caused more than half a million traffic injuries in 2008. As a result of the new distracted-driving law, anyone wishing to use their phone while driving must now use one of the many hands-free devices that have come on the market.

A hands-free device essentially is an earpiece that connects, usually using wireless technology such as Bluetooth to your cellphone, allowing you to make and receive phone calls without having to hold the phone and fumble around dialing people. If you are serious about hands-free communication, you can get a device built in to your car, but for most people the most convenient and cost-effective option is the wireless ear buds that clip on to your ear.

Understandably, there has been a massive spike in demand for these products, along with a large number of products coming on to the market. Some of these are intended for consumers who spend a lot of time talking on the phone while driving and need perfect sound quality and comfortable design. There are also myriad low-range options that cater to infrequent users and budget-conscious consumers. You can get a very basic ear bud for as little as $20, but if you are going to be using it on a regular basis, it is worth looking into something around the $100-plus region.

So, how do you decide which of these devices is the best for you? City Life has put together a guide of the top four hands-free devices for 2010.

Shoppers Guide: Bluetooth Hands-Free Products

BLUEANT Q1 Voice Controlled Headset
One of the best features of this model is that all of its functions are entirely voice operable, which enables you to focus fully on driving. Blue Ant has also improved the design from earlier models. $149.99

Aliph Jawbone Prime
This stylish headset uses NoiseAssassin technology to ensure your voice is clearly heard. It has an attractive design and comes in some cool colours. $149.99

Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth Headset
This popular model rates a little lower in the fashion stakes but makes up for that with excellent battery life and sound quality that most experts consider to be the best in the market. $129.99

Jabra BT-530
If you aren’t quite ready to spend $100 or more, this might be the ideal choice. The comfort, design and sound quality compares well with the other models listed here and, best of all, it costs about $30 or $40 less than its more fancied contemporaries. $53.43 – $99.99


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!