BlueAnt Cares When Bluetooth Fails And Police Caught You

The BlueAnt Bluetooth headset that Bixby’s wife normally uses to talk on the phone in the car failed to connect one day…which just happened to be the day that a police officer saw her holding her phone, which was on speaker phone at the time. She received a ticket. Bixby wrote to BlueAnt about the situation, and received a surprise.

The other day my wife gets a ticket for holding her phone in the car.
She had it on speaker and was placing it down. She usually uses her
Blue Ant headset but for what ever reason it failed to connect. So
then she get’s popped. I email blue ant and asked if they reimburse
for tickets. I explained what happen and I stated how much I like
there products and that I was bragging to my wife on how good there
headsets were until she got the ticket. So today, just a week later I
get a call from them and they were super friendly and apologetic.
They do not reimburse for tickets but they are sending her a new
latest model headsets and one of those sun visor speaker things to
make nice. Even though it will encourage my wife to drive unsafely
while talking on the phone at least she’ll be abiding by the law.
Thumbs up to Blue Ant

Truly impressive!


Edit Your Comment

  1. ChuckECheese says:

    She wasn’t ticketed for talking on her phone. She was busted for eating a Kinder Egg while driving.

  2. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    It’s interesting that for one sentence in the middle of that e-mail, the OP realized that the English language has a past tense. Then he promptly forgot about it.

    That’s great that they sent her a free headset, but “failed headset” isn’t a good reason to break the law. Quit talking on the phone while you’re driving.

    • jesirose says:

      God that bugs me. I absolutely HATE when people use the present tense to tell a story that happened in the past. English has a past tense for a reason folks.

      • Sure I could agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong. says:

        Yes, their is a reason theyre is a past tense in eenglush.

        (see what I did there? Just pointing out more of his grammatical failings)

    • jnads says:

      You survived because you had lower standards.

      All the other grammar nazis haven’t posted because they all went and hung themselves.

      That paragraph was painful to read. I don’t mind consistency in lack of grammar and spelling, but inconsistency is the worst.

      • dangermike says:

        You don’t kid. I didn’t make more than halfway through that rambling anecdote. Please, Consumerist, understand that we wouldn’t take offense if you were task yourselves with editing users’ story submissions for grammar and spelling.

  3. flip says:

    yeah…ok,…reimburse for ticket. lol

    Handsfree means just that. HAndsfree.

    • SJPadbury says:

      Most handsfree laws allow for speakerphone use, and any neccessary manipulation to dial the phone. It’s the act of holding the phone to your head with one hand while carrying on a conversation that’s prohibited.
      Of course, every state is different, and this state could be a lot more restrictive. Or it could have just been the end of the month and the cop had to make quota. (not that they have quotas, of course…)

  4. Erika'sPowerMinute says:

    Yay for the company, but the letter….yikes. I know Consumerist doesn’t edit, but my brain is itching.

    • IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

      I usually try to ignore the letters with grammar and spelling errors and focus on the content, but this one… wow. Even as short as it was, my focus was lost.

      • ScarletsWalk says:

        Me too. Something about this one got through my normal “Eh, it’s just the internet” filter.

        Probably because while this company was awesome, I wasn’t feeling much sympathy for the guy or his wife, having been inconvenienced by a driver on a phone every time I go out.

      • ellemdee says:

        Once I read “get’s” with the apostrophe, it was all I could think about.

    • FerretGirl says:

      Ugh, me too! I feel like it took some of my intelligence away just reading it. Letters like that should be punished by not being published.

    • Rayon Fog says:

      their their. don’t let it affect you. except it for what it is. His point is mute.

  5. blinky says:

    I guess it was more important for his wife to talk on the phone than to obey the cell phone laws. So it was Blue Ant’s fault.

    • SabreDC says:

      I agree. Remember the days before cell phones? When people understood that they may not be able to get a hold of you this instant so they could opt to leave a message asking for a return call or they could just try again later? Those were good days.

      Set ringtones for people. If you get a call that is from a specific person that you absolutely must take, just get off at the next exit or just pull into a parking lot. Unless you’re traveling on a turnpike with no exits or shoulders, there’s no excuse to drive and talk on the phone.

    • edosan says:

      Yeah, I’m not getting the reasoning here either. The “it was inconvenient to obey the law so I broke it” argument seems a little off to me.

  6. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    So how long was she holding the phone? Because where I live, I see people driving around me with a hand glued to an ear *all the time* … and I have a 5-minute commute.

    • Southern says:

      Depends on the state, raydeebug. There’s no federal law requiring a handsfree device, it’s a state by state thing. Some states have laws that if you talk on your cell phone, you have to use a handsfree device, and some do not – meaning you can glue that phone to your ear if you want to and the police can’t ticket you for it.

  7. damicatz says:

    Just another nonsense law by the government to increase revenue and extort money out of the working citizens. Having to hold a cellphone is not what causes the distraction; it’s the conversation that causes the distraction. Hands-free systems do not eliminate the conversation, therefore they do not eliminate the distraction. What’s next? Banning conversation while driving?

    • Sparkstalker says:

      You’re forgetting that banning all calls while driving would have a huge impact on wireless providers, as well as killing the lucrative accessory market. My god, man, think of all the poor Verizon executives that would suffer….

    • menty666 says:

      They’ll call it the “Shut Up and Drive” law

      People will start getting DWC (Driving while conversing) tickets :)

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      Police could give you a ticket for driving while holding a cell phone prior to these laws. Most states (probably all) have laws against “distracted driving”. My local department’s informal rule is that using anything that didn’t come standard with the car could result in a distracted driving ticket. I haven’t heard of them actually giving tickets for using a GPS or drinking coffee, but there is that option.

      The cell phone laws generally have been political reactions to a tragic event, where someone is killed because a driver was holding on their cell phone while driving. What the laws are most useful for is getting the majority of drivers to use their cell phones hands-free (which only has a mild improvement on driving abilities, but that’s for another discussion). I know that I stopped using my cell phone while driving when there was a law specifically against it, but not when it was just “distracted driving”.

      • LeonardoLeonardo says:

        The “distracted driving” thing at least makes sense, particularly if said distraction actually causes poor and dangerous driving. Trying to narrow down these categories is where things get ridiculous. If we ban phones because of the distraction of conversation, then why not ban conversation with passengers, radios, etc. If we ban phones because you’re using it in your hand, why not ban stick shifts, changing radio stations/CDs, GPSes, etc.

        • dangermike says:

          People who have conversations with the radio probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place…

    • hoi-polloi says:

      I get where you’re coming from, but it would be really difficult for an officer to know without a doubt that you’re having a conversation on speakerphone or with a hands-free device. The person could always disconnect when pulled over and say, “I was singing to the radio,” or, “I was practicing my presentation for work.” The law seems built around what the officer can testify to seeing.

      I agree that the conversation is a large part of the distraction. That said, I’m more worried about those moments when drivers have their eyes off the road. That’s the case when you have people dialing on touch screens, texting, etc. At the very least, ticketing for holding the device may cut down on those issues.

      • dangermike says:

        That being the case, what happens? You can go fight it in court and explain your side to the judge, who will then ignore it and find in favor of the cop’s story and continue to rake in endorsements from the Police associations at re-election time. That sounds like a fun and productive reason to take a day off of work.

    • RosevilleWgn says:

      How often do you see people driving with their cell phone crammed against their head, going too fast, and trying to merge on the side the cell phone is on? It’s a nightmare, I tell you.

    • Skyhawk says:

      These are ‘pre-emptive’ laws that extort money from you, even though you didn’t violate any other law.
      It’s simply a way to suck more money from citizens, by claiming it’s for ‘safety’.

      You haven’t broken any other law, but they penalize YOU because some people can’t multi-task.
      You’re penalized for the behavior of others.

      If they got rid of these laws and other fees, surcharges, and fines, taxes would double, because the insatiable appetite of the parasitic governemnt cannot be satisfied.

      If you can use your cell phone and operate a vehicle safely, why should the governemnt steal money from you just because, SOME people can’t.

      When discussing the distraction of communicating while operating a vehicle, I wonder why no one brings up airplanes. All commercial pilots and private pilots on an instrument flight plan, communicate with ATC for the entire duration of the flight. Even if not talking, you need to be actively listening at all times.

      If it were really about safety, and not money, they wouldn’t let pilots use the radios while flying, if it was risking the lives of hundreds of people.

      I can use my cell phone and drive as safely as when I’m flying and using the radio.

      • Kate says:

        Nobody can safely multitask while driving. There’s only people who think they can.

        • Skyhawk says:

          If you believe that, I assume you don’t ever board an airplane.

          Multi-tasking is a necessary skill for the pilot you are entrusting with your life.

          • BorkBorkBork says:

            Do note that pilots receive their licenses after years of education that can cost into the six-figures.

            The average driver gets their license out of a Cracker Jack box.

        • nutbastard says:

          oh really, then how come I can hit both the brake and gas with my right foot simultaneously while working the clutch with my left foot while changing gears with my right hand and steering with my left hand, matching the RPMs while listening to a podcast, smoking and/or consuming a beverage, activating my wipers or turn signals or manipulating the heater?

          you may not be able to walk and chew gum but plenty of us can.

          you remind me of the people who say ‘no one can safely drive after drinking, they only think they can’. Well I’ve got quite a few tales from my wilder years that beg to differ. all of it is a matter of discipline. you don’t wreck your car because you were multitasking, you wreck your car because you got complacent and stopped paying attention to your surroundings.

      • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

        The planes you speak of, in addition to the pilot, they have a person called a ‘co-pilot’, who shares responsibility for the operation of the airplane and communications. Usually, one of the two flies the plane while the other communicates with ATC.

        Some planes even require the use of a ‘Flight Engineer’, a 3rd person in the cockpit, who also shares some of the responsibilities of operating the aircraft and communicating with the ground.

        Your analogy fails, unless cars became required, sometime in the last few hours, of having a co-pilot who could also drive or speak.

        • Skyhawk says:

          I guess you think that the only planes in the sky are commercial airliners.

          There are thousands of single-pilot IFR flights every day.

          I’m just saying that some people ARE able to multi-task. And to preemptively fine someone, even though they didn’t commit any other violation, because of the inability of others is ridiculous.

          What’s next- A field EEG too measure brain function?
          Drowsy drivers are just as dangerous as drunk drivers.

          How about a field marital investigation? People can be dangerous if they’ve just had a fight with their spouse.

          How about field medical exam? People have caused accidents from sneezing.
          Should you be pulled over if you have a cold?

          If you cause an accident, you should be penalized.

          But, enacting fines preemptively so a politician can claim it’s for safety is ludicrous.

          It’s about the money.

      • RvLeshrac says:

        The family of four would be happy to hear that you’ve stood up for the “right” of the guy in front of them to cut off that tractor-trailer because he was too distracted dialing his cellphone to notice he was drifting into the wrong lane, causing it to jackknife and kill them all.

        Seriously. Don’t talk on the goddamned phone when you’re driving, and you don’t have to worry about this. This is simple. 1+1=Don’t kill innocent people with your stupid behaviour.

      • miss_chevious says:

        “If you can use your cell phone and operate a vehicle safely, why should the governemnt steal money from you just because, SOME people can’t?”

        I don’t see the logic here. There are plenty of things that are against the law for safety reasons that some people can do but others can’t. For example, I can safely operate my vehicle at speeds in excess of 110 miles an hour in dry conditions. Some people can’t. Even though I’m perfectly safe doing it, it’s still illegal and will cost me a lot of money if I get caught.

        As for the pilot analogy, it fails for another reason in addition to the co-pilot reason others have pointed out, namely that airplanes don’t fly along less than two feet from another in constricted zones like roads. Maybe they are multi-tasking up there, maybe they aren’t–I’m not a pilot and can’t speak to that. But it seems to me that there’s more room, literally, for forgiveness in the air than there is on the highway. My anecdotal experience tells me that most people using phones on the road are more dangerous drivers than people who aren’t using them.

  8. 67alecto says:

    They’ve done studies that show people are just as distracted on headsets…she’s not being safe, she’s getting around the spirit of the law.

  9. abucsfan says:

    I had the occasion to drive down I-75 into Detroit the other day and a car in the middle lane (there’s 5) was doing about 35 when everyone else is doing 65 – 70. As I managed to get by her, I see this woman, by herself with an open file folder on the steering wheel, texting something. How dumb is that?

    • Grungo says:

      Pretty damn dumb.

    • ellemdee says:

      I recently saw two cars on I-75 north of Detroit driving right next to each other for miles and I couln’t figure out why. As I got closer, I saw that they both had their windows rolled down and were having a conversation – not a phone call, but an actual face-to-face, looking-at-the-person-you’re-talking-to conversation. It wasn’t even an argument or road rage, they just obviously knew each other and the DRIVERS were talking (well, yelling over road noise) to each other for miles.

    • Kibit says:

      I was driving on a main road in my area where the speed limit is 45. A SUV was riding my ass while holding his phone and texting with BOTH HANDS! Thankfully he got off my ass, but then he sped up and cut me off. I was prepared for him to do this, I just kinda had a feeling he would. He then continued to speed down the road weaving in and out of traffic.

      I pulled over and called our Colorado State Patrol Aggressive Driver hot line. I gave as much info as I could. I don’t know if they caught him, but I hope they did. I was scared he was going to cause a severe accident.

  10. partofme says:

    There are probably some legal issues if they were to shell out for the amount of the ticket. Free swag might get around this. Can anyone confirm?

  11. malimal99 says:

    either way, if the headset failed to connect or just failed, I would not have been mad at Blue Ant if they did nothing. Unless it failed and it was under warranty. just pay the ticket and get off the phone.

    I’m more surprised someone was actually pulled over for this. that makes me happy.

    • Gramin says:

      You should come visit me in Chicago then. A few nights a week, a cop sits on one of the side streets pointing at Addison. As drivers pull up to that intersection, if they’re on the cell phone, the cop pulls them over.

  12. PSUSkier says:

    Not to start a raging debate, but those laws are crap anyway. Holding something to my ear doesn’t cause me to be distracted. Nor does the conversation (if it did we should outlaw talking to the person in the seat next to you too). Really the only “bad part” is dialing the phone number, which isn’t something that you can really skirt.

    • nbs2 says:

      Unless you have a voice dialing feature on your phone (which all of my phones on Verizon and ATT since 2003 have had – making me wonder which people pay for the carrier provided feature)

      • Gramin says:

        Voice dialing is sooo 2000. My wonderful Android phone (Droid X) has almost complete voice operation capabilities. I just hit the button and tell it what I want to do. I can even activate my gps, turn on Google Maps, and get driving directions from my location to XYZ Company by touching only 1 button.

        Furthermore, I can even text by talking! Gotta love technology. Phone is pretty damn accurate, too.

        • Benanov says:

          Those capabilities aren’t built into the phone – they are a Google experience service. Your voice is sent to google’s servers and processed. That’s why they ran Goog 411 for so long. :)

          It’s not built into the phone. Otherwise my phone running CM 6 w/o the Google Apps would have it. :)

    • TooManyHobbies says:

      A number of controlled studies contradict this almost universally-held opinion. Nearly everyone thinks they can drive equally well while talking on the phone, but every controlled study shows that actually, nobody can.

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      My father has been hit not once, but twice, by distracted drivers. Once while he was walking, once while he was biking. The second time, he was found nearly dead on the side of the road.

      Therefore I respectfully disagree with you. I wish cellphone laws were even stricter.

  13. The_IT_Crone says:

    Laws aren’t to be followed just when convenient. It’s not BlueAnt’s fault she got a ticket, and they went above-and-beyond to give her a new one.

    I don’t think anyone should use a phone while driving, but that’s moot.

  14. odarkshineo says:

    Dear BlueAnt,

    My wife does not believe/understand personal accountability or technology. Please reimburse her for her illegal actions.

    PLz K Thx Bi

  15. VOIDMunashii says:

    That’s really nice of them to do given that they are not obliged to do anything at all. If her headset failed she could have always pulled off the road to have her phone conversation, or just wait until she was not on the road to have it.

    She was not “popped” because her headset did not work, she was popped because she chose to break the law as a result. It sucks, but it was a choice on her part. If she has the phone in her hand, then she is obviously not abiding by the hands-free laws.

  16. dush says:

    Repeal the dumb, freedom bashing cell phone laws.
    Driving wrecklessly is driving wrecklessly.
    Sandwich, magazine, cell phone, gps, child. They all cause distraction.

  17. jaya9581 says:

    What state is this? I’ve never heard of a state law where you aren’t even allowed to have the phone in your hand – just that you cannot be holding it to your ear.

    • SonicPhoenix says:

      That’s what I thought for NY but apparently the law has gone through several incarnations and the most recent (in NY at least) disallows any use so long as you’re holding the device. If you put it on speakerphone and set it down somewhere apparently that’s fine but if you hold it in your hand with speakerphone on that’s not allowed.

      • jaya9581 says:

        That’s pretty stupid.

        They should add “driving while on the phone” to the list of things you have to master to get your license. I know how to do it safely – and when NOT to do it – but it amazes me how many people I see who are completely oblivious while they’re on the phone.

  18. sifr says:

    “holding her phone, which was on speaker phone at the time”.

    I can’t believe how many people think holding a phone up to your face and having it on speaker somehow skirts the hands-free law. Here’s a giant clue, people: If there’s something in your hands, you’re doing it wrong.

  19. fortymegafonzies says:

    The other day, my bank’s ATM was out of order, so I just decided to rob a liquor store. Well, I got caught but I’m hoping the bank will pay for my legal defense.

  20. ronbo97 says:

    Two hands on the wheel. Remember ?

    Ever watch someone trying to negotiate a turn while holding a cellphone in one hand ? All we need now is some local enforcement.

    • Ebriosa says:

      I go through corners with one hand on the steering wheel all the time. I drive standard. I drive with all 4 limbs!

      Of course, i think everyone should have to drive standard again because it forces you to concentrate on driving more and prevents you from using your hands for anything other than steering or shifting. Problem solved.

      • Kibit says:

        I was so much more aware when I drove a standard shift.

      • nutbastard says:

        agreed. I’d be willing to bet that no single technological innovation in the field of automobiles has caused more deaths than the Automatic Transmission.

  21. feralparakeet says:

    Wait, I’m confused here.

    She got pulled over and ticketed for HOLDING a phone in her hand and pushing the speaker button?

    By that logic, do they also give tickets for changing stations or adjusting the volume on your radio? What about eating while driving?

    Something doesn’t add up.

  22. TacomaRogue says:

    The number of “it’s not holding the phone that’s the problem” comments suprises me. Not only do you have one hand that’s completely useless in the event of an emergency, but you also potentially create a giant blind spot as well limit the range of motion for your head while changinging lanes etc. Sure talking doesn’t help much, but I’m more likely to ignore a conversation in bad traffic than ignore the road for a good conversation.

  23. Jerkamie says:

    much better then lgs bluetooth which has 0 warranty on all models.

  24. Rocket says:

    “You’re not holding it right.”


    Sent from my iPad

  25. DustingWhale says:

    Having been nearly side swiped by SUV drivers on cell phones, I’m all for the ban.

    But I’m way more for enforcing existing traffic laws that actually make the road safer, instead of focusing on revenue generating speeding tickets. (turn signal, fail to yeild, improper lane usage etc…)

  26. chaelyc says:

    Thanks for this. I’ve been looking at Plantronics lately but now I’m going to try & find a Blue Ant equivalent instead.