Hands-Free Cell Phones Are The Wave Of The Future

Saturday, July 15th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Getting distracted drivers to pay attention to what they're doing before you get hurt is a new challenge.

A lot of drivers zone out and cause wrecks while talking on their cell phones.

Because of that, a New Jersey town this week joined several others across the country in banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

What did we do before cell phones?

Well, research shows we didn't have as many accidents.

"We hear stories that I was talking on the phone and had a wreck," says Brad Naifeh of First Choice Wireless.

Distractions inside the car, such as cell phones, are blamed for more than a quarter of the 6 million car wrecks in America every year.

Cell phone dealers are expanding their stock to accomodate all of the products aimed at making cell phone use safer in the car.

More than 15 states are looking at banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, several cities have done just that.

Oklahoma has jumped in, they are now one of two states that require police to include information about cell phones in accident reports.

The handsfree microphone is the best selling safety device and can be found for about 20 dollars.

There are also other devices that are in the early stages of development.

"Everybody's going to handsfree. I noticed that a lot of your luxury cars are going to phones in the car for handsfree that goes to the radio" says Naifeh.

Some local car dealers say many customers are going the safer route and buying their cars with the handsfree holder.

"It allows you to cradle it in the car and works through the radio and a microphone," says Tom Bloomfield of Tulsa Auto Collection.

Car dealers and phone makers say better technology is coming, maybe in year or two they will offer phones that will be totally voice actived and buttons won't be necessary.

The cell phone has become so popular, they say something has to be done.

"It's so much a part of everyone's life, I think they're going to have to, because people need to be in constant communication," says Bloomfield.

Some phones have even more distractions on them. You can check your e-mail and search the internet on the newer models.

With so many questions being raised about their use on the road, the National Traffic Safety Administation will start looking into the problem next week.