Motorists searching for hands-free devices

By Nick Kovatch on December 31 at 1:17pm

Hands-free cell phone devices are flying off the shelves in Jacksonville.

Starting tomorrow, a new state law bans the use handheld devices while driving. Cell phone store managers in Jacksonville say sales of hands-free and Bluetooth devices have soared 50 to 90 percent in the last month.

Sammye Geer is manager at the AT&T store at 1921 West Morton. She says most customers accept the new law.

“They realize this is something that needed to happen,” says Geer. “There’s been, statistically, a lot of accidents [because of cell phones] and it seems like cell phones are more of a distraction. I think people have been understanding more than anything. They realize it’s best for their safety.”

Some cars allow you to use Bluetooth through the speakers so an extra accessory isn’t needed. But if your vehicle doesn’t allow you to do that, you can have it installed.

Denver Alderson is store manager at the U. S. Cellular store at 1900 West Morton. He says the hands-free devices didn’t use to be a big seller.

“It was a real niche market,” says Alderson. “[We’d sell] a couple a month. A lot of people might window shop with them and ask about them but never were really ready to pull the trigger and make the big transition. Now they’re forced to it seems like.”

Starting tomorrow, if you’re caught talking on a cell phone while driving, it will cost you $75. That price jumps to as much as $150 for additional incidents. You’ll also get a violation on your driving record.