Headsets.com Offers Free Headsets to Cell Phone Law Offenders

If you've been nabbed for jawing on your cell phone in your car, perhaps it's time to go hands-free. Laws banning cell phone usage while driving exist in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C., and have been in effect for some time. Their success at reducing the accident rates related to cell phone use has prompted adoption of similar legislation in California and Washington state, due to come into effect in 2008.

In a bid to highlight these new laws and to encourage people to change their driving behavior, Headsets.com, an online retailer of telephone headsets will offer a free cell phone headset to anyone who sends them a copy of their traffic citation for making calls while driving.

Studies by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis have shown that 2,600 people are killed, and as many as 330,000 people are injured each year in the United States because of car crashes related to driver distraction from using a cell phone.

“I just feel compelled to try and do something about this tragedy,” says Headsets.com president and CEO Mike Faith.

“If you put a 20-year-old driver behind the wheel with a cell phone in their hand, their reaction times are the same as a 70-year-old driver who is not using a cell phone,” says David Strayer, professor of psychology at the University of Utah. Simulations have shown that drivers talking on cell phones were 18 percent slower to react to warning signs such as brake lights, while driving and talking on their cell, and took up to 17 percent more time regain speed after braking, slowing down all road users.

“We'd rather that people didn't take calls while driving, hands-free or not,” says Faith.“There's just no way you can chat on the phone and keep the same attention on the road.” Faith notes that the reality of the situation is that people will continue to do it, and he hopes this program will help those who are finding it difficult to change to at least take a step in the right direction by switching to a hands-free system. “Of course, we encourage everyone to pull over if they have to make or receive a call,” he says. “It�s the only way to be really safe.”

The company Web site has been updated to cope with the expected influx of applicants to the program as new laws come into effect and a special toll-free number has been set up, 1-800-HEADSETS for those who wish to start their free headset claim.

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