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California hands-free law sparks Bluetooth boon

According to market researcher NPD, major California markets sold four times the national average as hands-free law took hold.

The numbers are in for Bluetooth headset sales in California, and the retail hype around the new hands-free-driving law seems to have paid off. The law boosted device sales to four times the national average, according to a report by retail market researcher The NPD Group.

Bluetooth display at RadioShack
A display at a San Francisco RadioShack touts Bluetooth headsets prior to the July 1 implementation of the law. Holly Jackson/CNET News

NPD said California's four largest markets--San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego--saw a major Bluetooth boost in the months before the law went into effect effect July 1.

In March, San Francisco sold two times more Bluetooth headsets than the national average. By May that number had risen to four times the national average in all four cities.

In other U.S. cities, where laws requiring drivers to use headsets when talking on cell phones have not been implemented, Bluetooth sets sold below the national average.

While NPD will not release the amount of revenue generated by the sales, it said the data was calculated by units of Bluetooth headsets sold per store.

According to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for market researcher NPD, the hands-free laws have helped Bluetooth makers, which are designing new headsets due to increased consumer demand.