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Residents rush to buy, learn how to use hands-free cell phone devices [Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.]
[January 25, 2010]

Residents rush to buy, learn how to use hands-free cell phone devices [Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.]

(Las Cruces Sun-News (NM) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 25--LAS CRUCES -- Like many of you, Greg Artman feels the clock ticking.

The Las Crucen knows that on Feb. 5 it will be illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving in the city, unless you have a handless device. So he spent part of Thursday afternoon at Best Buy checking out the various options.

"I got the pricey one," Artman said as he worked with sales associate Matt Gonzales to see if he could get the product -- which has a speaker and will also save all your phone numbers -- to work with his phone.

You better hurry, though, if you want to purchase such a device because they have been selling fast.

Gonzales said demand has been "huge," and that sales of the items -- which can range from $30 to more than $100 -- really picked up in early December, when the City Council voted on the ordinance that prohibits motorists from using a hand-held cell phone while driving.

"It's been about three times as many sales as last year (for the same time period)," he said.

Artman said he had to time his purchase just right.

"I came back on Thursday, right after they had a Wednesday delivery," he said.

At the Walmart on Walton Boulevard, manager Curtis Rosemond checked the shelves on Thursday. He said devices that use wireless, Bluetooth technology -- often in the form of an earpiece or a headset -- have been selling, "really, really well." Some of the hottest items, though, are those commonly referred to as car jacks, which use your car radio as speakers.

"We're sold out," he said. "But we're getting more." The switch to handless devices will take some getting used to for some Las Crucens.

Dawn Starostka, who owns Helping Hands Event Planning, said she uses her cell phone a lot, often in her car. Last week she bought a Bluetooth capable device. She admitted the instructions at first were confusing and she is glad to have a couple of weeks to figure out how to use her new purchase.

"The guy at Sprint said, 'Just click here and roll here and push this button on the Bluetooth,'" Starostka said with a laugh.

City Manager Terrence Moore said his car has a handless connection for his cell phone. He said calls come through his radio speakers, and the incoming call will automatically shut off the radio or CD player.

"It's pretty neat," he said. "The car came with the equipment." Realtor Teresa Ramos with RE/MAX Infinity in Las Cruces said that people in her profession use cell phones constantly. She has used a handless device for a while, but said some people might have a period of adjustment.

"I do believe some Realtors will have to get used to it," she said.

Despite the learning curve, though, Starostka said she is glad the ordinance was passed.

"Two hands on the wheel are certainly better than one," she said.

But she does not think, as some do, that cell phones should be completely banned.

"I'm on my phone a lot, and if I need to call (someone) a good time to make the call can be between here and my next appointment," Starostka said. "I think putting mascara on (while driving) is more of a distraction, and I see people doing that." While he shopped at Best Buy, Artman said he's glad the ban will soon be in effect.

"I never thought that cell phones in cars were safe," he said.

Brook Stockberger can be reached at; (575) 541-5457 To see more of the Las Cruces Sun-News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2010, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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