Can tech allow you to legally text and drive?

No Bluetooth, no problem; new gadgets can help you talk, text hands-free

By Allyson Henning - Reporter, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Starting Monday, texting while driving can get you pulled over. Florida’s new distracted driving law makes texting while driving a primary offense.

For the first six months, violators will only receive a warning. After that, it'll be a $30 fine for a first offense. A second citation comes with a $60 fine and three points on your license.

There are ways you can utilize technology to keep your eyes on the road and still talk to someone on your phone without disobeying the new law.

While a lot of cars have hands-free features that allow you to talk and never touch your phone while behind the wheel, if you drive an older model car, you probably don’t have the same options.

Still, according to Best Buy, there is a way you can tech up your older model car.

If your car doesn’t have a Bluetooth function,  you can get a radio with smart technology installed.

That way, your phone will connect to your car through Apple Car Play or Android Auto, bringing some of your phone’s features right onto your dash.

You’ll be able to send text messages using your voice without taking your eyes off the road.

But it doesn't come cheap. A device like that will cost you between $500 and $600 depending on your car.

A less expensive option is a dash or window mount. That way, your phone is out of your hands but still visible for your GPS or music.

Geoffrey Vernon, with Best Buy, says Bluetooth headsets are another popular choice that he’s seen customers buying specifically because of the new Florida law.

One of the newest items for hands-free driving is a pair of sunglasses with speakers and a microphone built in. 

"You are looking straight with that option," Vernon said. "You’re not having to glance over at a phone or radio, so this would be another really cool option to look straight and still be able to make phone calls and texts."

Customers that spoke to News4Jax said there are no excuses for texting and driving.

"There is so much technology. Even if you have an older car today, like my wife does, there’s really no excuse.  You can, for a low price, really fix it up," customer Rick Vach said. "Lots of options for you depending on your budget."

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