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Bluetooth technology is a marvelous thing.  For those of you who may be not unlike myself in age (from the "Baby Boomer" generation) and are unsure of what exactly it is, Bluetooth.com says: "Bluetooth Smart technology is a wireless communications system intended to replace the cables connecting many types of devices..."  It has a lot of very cool applications, but my main intent here regarding its use is to make aware those of you who have cell phones -- that would be, like, all of us -- to use the technology!

Why?  Because, as of January 1st of this year (2014) -- specifically in the state of Illinois -- the use of a hand-held device (i.e., a cell phone) while driving a motor vehicle... is illegal!  And while that statement may not come as a great surprise to most of us, there are far too many who either have been living in a cave and are unaware or are just flagrantly disregarding the new law.

Of course, speeding is illegal as well, and "every one does it", so why the rant?  Part of the reason is this:  While I couldn't care less whether or not you agree with the law, you are putting my life at risk by not abiding by it.  Personally, I would prefer to adhere to the law than break it, especially in this instance, even though I will reluctantly admit that I am one of those who believes that I can safely drive and use my cell phone; call it multi-tasking.  But as of January 1st, I have changed my habits.  And frankly, while I may consider the new law yet another unwanted government intrusion into my personal affairs, I have found that Bluetooth technology has not only made my life more legal while I am behind the wheel, it has also made it easier.  Back to Bluetooth in a bit...

Since January, I actually stated to count how many times I saw someone either holding a cell phone and talking, or looking down at the phone in their lap as they shared text messages with someone.  After a week, I gave up; I witnessed multiple instances every day.  And it has not lessened one bit.  The number of drivers that have almost hit me -- from the side, front and rear -- has numbered in the dozens.

I have seen stop signs blown, cars remaining stopped at a green light, pedestrians ignored (and almost run down), erratic lane changes, swerving and driving way under the speed limit... just to mention a few behaviors.  Each and every instance was the result of some sort of now illicit cell phone use.  I am unsure of just how much "honeymoon" time the local police are going to allow, but we are now one-fourth of the way through the new year, so I hope that the honeymoon is deemed to be over very soon; I do not wish to be a statistic because some knucklehead didn't take advantage of some very cool and helpful technology... smart technology that is not very expensive to obtain and is designed to work flawlessly with your smart phone!

There is a vast array of wireless options out there.  For those who want the "convenience" of never being disconnected, there is the headset model (see examples below).  Fitting either in the ear or around it, these wireless Bluetooth headsets/ hands free headphone devices fill the bill quite nicely.  They allow one to listen and to talk while driving, walking or sitting at one's desk.  And, they obviously allow both of your hands to remain on the wheel of the car!

I wasn't sure I wanted to wear a headset all the time, so I did a little research.  I literally stumbled upon a company that provided an incredible array of Bluetooth options for wireless applications.  I also found what for me was the perfect solution: an in-car speakerphone.  Clipped to the visor, the technology allows me to connect with the voice recognition capabilities of my cell phone; a single tap on the device and I can make a call.  I am also notified of an incoming call which I can, by voice command, accept... or not.  And the price is about the same as one would pay for a headset; mine cost me $62.  That is less, by the way, than the cost of a ticket if you get busted for using your cell phone while driving.  I could have paid more for a few more bells and whistles, but function was what I was after.

My choice was a Jabra Tour because I liked the reviews it got, the price was right and the unit seemed a good fit for what I needed.  There are numerous companies out there with Bluetooth speakerphones; a little time spent on the 'net and you can easily find what's right for you.  The bottom line is this: I have seen people on cell phones who should only use them while sitting in a chair; they couldn't successfully walk and chew gum.  Behind the wheel of a car they become a menace. 

And texting while driving?  That's just plain stupid.  Too many sad and horrific incidents have been recorded as a result of texting while driving.  By the way, there are units out there that can translate talk to text, both incoming and outgoing.  So do yourself -- and all the other drivers on the road -- a huge favor: make a conscious decision to abide by the new law.  Get yourself a headset or speaker phone and make the roads safer for everyone!



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