MERIDIAN, Idaho — A new year means new laws, and as of New Years Day, it is illegal to hold a phone while driving in Meridian. If you’re caught holding a phone while texting or talking to someone on a call, it will likely result in an infraction and a $90 fine, plus court costs.
But don't panic-- if you don't have hands-free call and texting capabilities already installed in your car, there are several products at stores such as Best Buy that can help you avoid a ticket.
"This is the Plantronics," said Robert Hall, Sales Supervisor at Best Buy. "So it's just a single individual earpiece -- it's got a boom that comes down, so it actually picks up your voice quality a lot better."
Best Buy can replace your entire radio for a product like the SONY Bluetooth AM/FM Radio, but if you don't want to go to such extreme measures, Hall as more ideas.
"You can actually put Alexa in your car, and be able to do the voice commands, and ask it how the weather's doing. But at the same time you're able to make and receive phone calls as well, just by using your voice," said Hall.
Apple Airpods can do the trick as well.
Or if you're looking for something a bit cheaper, you can buy something like a Handsfree Car Kit with FM Transmitter, which plugs into your cigarette lighter. On your smartphone, you just go into your settings and tap the "Bluetooth" option, select the device, turn your radio to a previously set station -- and when you get a call, you can keep your hands on the wheel while chatting.
Meridian is the first city in the Treasure Valley to pass such a measure, although cities in other parts of Idaho have passed similar ordinances.