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Hands-free kits to beat the mobile phone driving ban

From today, a new law hopes to make our roads safer -- talking on your phone while driving will now get you a £60 fine and three points on your licence

Since December 2003, it has been illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. As of today, however, jabbering on your dog and bone while you're behind the wheel will not only incur a fine of £60, which is £30 more than the previous fine, you will also get three points on your licence.

According to research carried out by the government, you are four times more likely to crash when using a mobile phone. You can use a hands-free kit, but the government also advises against this since it, too, can distract you. For more information on the dos and don'ts of mobile driving visit the Department of Transport's Web site.

If you absolutely must use your mobile while driving, you'll need to ensure you use a Bluetooth headset or a hands-free kit. Here are a few that work well and will keep you legal on the roads.

The Parrot Minikit is an easy-to-install Bluetooth hands-free car kit that's definitely worth a look. Not only were we impressed with how loud it sounds, even with the radio on, but we also really like the audio quality during calls. Our only real niggle is that there isn't a display.

Alternatively, you could go for the Motorola T305 hands-free car kit, which works in a similar way to the Parrot Minikit but it's smaller and has less features. We noticed that the sound quality isn't as clear and loud as it is on the Minikit, but this device is more portable.

If you're not into hands-free kits and want something a little more up close and personal, then a Bluetooth headset will better suit your needs. Crave is rather keen on the Sony Ericsson HBH-IV835 -- it's small and comes with an in-ear bud so it isolates the sound.

Another Bluetooth headset that we like is the Bluetrek X2. This model is water resistant -- it's a good choice if you drive a convertible and it starts to rain.

Whatever you choose, make sure it's safe and legal -- there's no point in risking lives just because you need to take a call. -AL