Opinion: New Hampshire’s New Car Stereo Installer Full Employment Law

Under New Hampshire’s new law you won’t be able to use your bluetooth headset with your phone any more. This law doesn’t just limit people being able to send text messages or enter an address into your GPS, but people are going to end up even more distracted than they were before as they try to hide their smart-phone to avoid getting a ticket, or get lost on the way to their destination.

I had an attorney look at the language of the law last week, and he’s the one who gave me much of the info. He also researched how an almost identical law is being interpreted in other States, including Louisiana, and this is likely to be draconian.

Looking at the wording of the law, we find that you are permitted to use devices connected to your vehicle, such as the heater controls, built-in GPS and other distracting devices. “To use a Bluetooth enabled or other hands-free electronic device, or a similar device that is physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle” is OK.

However, using a bluetooth headset on with your cell phone is not allowed. The restriction “physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle,” which would cause the law to ban headsets as they are not integrated in any way into a motor vehicle. It would also cause almost every other device to become illegal.

The winners here? Obviously the after-market car stereo business. Paying to have your old radio ripped out and replaced with a brand-new bluetooth-compatible stereo makes you legal to use your bluetooth smart-phone. Just don’t use your headset.

Oh, and don’t put that smart-phone on your lap so you can get your directions from Waze. But, who would do that? It would be even more dangerous. We will all just go get our car stereos replaced — assuming you can.

Reference: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2014/HB1360.html