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Hands-Free Bluetooth for Alberta’s New Driving Laws

Voyager Pro Lifestyle

Bluetooth Headset

March 1, 2011:   There has been lots written on the new hands-free driving laws soon to be enforced in Alberta, so this article will just touch on the highlights and present a couple of solutions.

Using, viewing or even holding a cell phone while driving will soon be illegal in Alberta under the new distracted driving law.  The new law bans hand-held cell phones (hands-free OK) as well as PDAs and other hand-held electronic communications devices.  Texting will be banned. Also prohibited would be personal grooming, non-commercial use of CB radios, writing, drawing, sketching and use of certain video screens. Fine of $172, no demerits.

Note: The RCMP in Alberta isn’t waiting for the new provincial government law. It started to target distracted drivers in the month of February 2011. Under current law, careless driving can bring fines of $402 and 6 demerits.

[ref – http://handsfreeinfo.com/alberta-distracted-driving]

For Truckers, Alberta’s distracted driving law restricts the use of hand-held CB radios, except for drivers who are required to maintain radio contact for ‘commercial purposes,  like when escorting an over-dimensional vehicle, for contacting that driver’s employer  as well as for drivers involved in search, rescue or emergency management situations.

[ref – http://www.desitrucking.com/alberta-clarifies-cb-handsfree-rules-for-trucking]

Motorists will still be permitted to use hands-free devices and unwired accessories that use Bluetooth technology to transmit signals. A wide range of Bluetooth headsets and Bluetooth speakerphone car kits are available. Most cell phones now have Bluetooth compatibility. This functionality allows phones to connect wirelessly to external devices such as headsets or earpieces.

Here are the features to consider when selecting a hands-free device:

  • Confirm compatibility: In some rare cases Bluetooth headsets may be incompatible with some Bluetooth phones. Look for the compatibility list on the packaging as well as on manufacturers websites.
  • Experiment with different designs: Earhooks and earbuds come in a variety of designs. Try a few varieties to determine what will feel comfortable for the entire length of your commute. The design should feel secure – with no need to adjust while driving.
  • Keep your driving and phone use habits in mind: If you talk often while driving but you make frequent stops, a headset may be a better option than a car speaker kit. Also consider working ranges. A standardized rating system that classifies ranges into either Bluetooth Class 2 or Bluetooth Class 1 will help you compare products. Bluetooth Class 2 has a working range of up to roughly 33 feet (10 meters). Bluetooth Class 1: have a range of up to 328 feet (100 meters).
  • Consider the vehicle environment: The car can have a noisy interior especially if you often have passengers. Find a headset with good noise cancellation and wind noise reduction.
  • Specs, Versions and Standards: Bluetooth has three versions of varying quality, power consumption and speed; version 3.0 + HS (High Speed), version 2.1 + EDR, version 2.0 + EDR. Each version has a specific specs and standards with 3.0 being the highest quality and newest model. “EDR”, or Enhanced Data Rate, devices have faster data transfer.
  • Device Profile: For headsets, the profile defines the standard capabilities and functionalities of the device. A Headset Profile (HSP) device only allows you to talk on the phone through the headset, accept incoming calls, hang up, and adjust the volume. Hands-Free Profile (HFP) has added functionally such as redial, call waiting handling and dial by voice.

Some Bluetooth solutions: Plantronics offers several high-quality Bluetooth devices for use mobile environments.

Voyager Pro+

Voyager Pro+

Plantronics Voyager Pro+

The Voyager PRO+ is the most advanced noise-canceling Bluetooth headset available. Two noise-canceling mics on a boom, AudioIQ² technology with its adaptive 20-band equalizer, and three layers of WindSmart technology ensure that you hear every word and that your voice is heard clearly despite the noise around you.

It is noteworthy that the Plantronics Voyager Pro+ is mentioned in the Trucker’s Report Forum at this link:

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K100

K100 Vehicle-Visor Bluetooth

Plantronics K100 In-Car Speaker-phone

The new Plantronics K100 in-car speakerphone is a  slim profile Bluetooth device designed to live on your car’s visor, and deliver the audio excellence you expect from Plantronics. Broadcast calls, GPS navigation and music from your mobile phone via the K100 speakerphone’s Bluetooth connection. The FM Transmitter has 5 preset frequencies which allow you to listen through your vehicke radio. Dual microphones, noise reduction technology, voice alerts and large, easy-to-locate buttons all work to provide clear conversations and an easy calling experience.

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VoyProUC_B230

Voyager Pro UC B230

Plantronics Voyager Pro UC B230

The Voyager PRO UC B230 also features advanced noise cancelling and WindSmart technology, with the addition or Smart Sensor features that will automatically answer a call when the headset is placed on the ear. It also included a Bluetooth USB stick to facilitate PC voice applications. So if you are taking your laptop on a road trip or to the Lab, the Voyager Pro UC servers both cell phone and PC applications.

For additional product information, please visit the Comfort Telecom Canada website, or email us at calgary[at]comfortcanada[dot]com

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