Something big is about to happen in Illinois. It will affect anyone who drives a car in the state, so listen up.
Here's a look at the change, and what you need to do to avoid a $120 fine.
When you get behind the wheel of your car, you know you should adjust your mirrors, set the seat and buckle your seat belt. In the coming months, you'll have to do something else.
"January first, 2014, we will be a completely hands free state in the state of Illinois," Trooper Mike Kindhart with the Illinois State Police said.
That means, you will no longer be able to talk on a physical cell phone while driving. So, what options do you have. You actually have a couple of wireless options, if you're car isn't set up to handle handsfree talking. One is an earpiece ... commonly called a Bluetooth. "The nice thing about that is you can just keep it in your ear and you're able to get in your car, walk to your office, go into a store, and you can continue that conversation without being interrupted," Bridjet Pinson, Store Manager with U.S. Cellular said.
Another benefit, you can leave your phone in your pocket, in your purse, or in your backseat. Some will even read texts to you.
"Some people don't like to have things in their ear. That's the biggest disadvantage. Also, if you do a lot of work when you're moving around. I know a lot of farmers, at times will complain about it falling out of their ear. It's all about finding the right one for what you do," Pinson said.
Earpieces range in price from around $40.00 to $150.00. Choosing the right one for you means visiting with a sales consultant at your cellular store. They will ask questions of how you plan to use it, and help you pair it with your phone. If you absolutely don't like an earpiece, there is another option.
"Another really popular option is the loud speaker. This will just attach to your visor, calls will come through, you'll hit a button, you can have that conversation. You can also mute your background noise," Pinson said.
One downside to the speaker, everyone in your car will be able to hear your conversation, and they pretty much stay in the car, so you'd have to end your conversation once you reach your destination.
Consider this a warning ... after the new year, police will have the right to pull you over for talking on a cell phone in Illinois. Trooper Mike Kindhart says police will be looking for those breaking this new law.
"Cell phones, you know, look at the size of them, look at the lighting ... especially at night when someone is holding the phone up next to their face, and it's illuminating their face or the inside of the vehicle. It's a lot easier to spot than you think," Kindhart explained.
Also remember, the term Bluetooth is actually what the technology is called, so any of the handsfree devices should work with your cell phone, no matter if it's Apple, Android, or something else.
Yet another option, some car audio businesses can retrofit your car's radio to handle Bluetooth.
That way, you can make and receive calls through your car's radio.
Do you already use Bluetooth? Share your experiences with us below in the comments section or post to our Facebook page here.