Marcelo Teson has added a phone mount and a Bluetooth cassette adapter in his car to comply with the Jan. 1 hands-free law change in Austin. Credit: Laura Skelding / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

This week on the Digital Savant column, I discuss several options for drivers (and cyclists) who are worried about a new hands-free ordinance that went into effect on Jan. 1 for Austin.

Whether you plan to turn your car into a Bluetooth phone zone or plan to avoid using handheld electronics entirely while in motion (the smart, legal thing to do), I tried to lay out the ways you can avoid a fine of up to $500 when tickets start being issued next month.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

Option No. 2: An earpiece

If your car doesn’t have Bluetooth capabilities and you want a way to keep phone conversations going after you get out of the car, you could use a wireless earpiece or buy a nice one for anywhere from around $30 to $100. If your car has Bluetooth built-in, the earpiece may be able to send audio to the car stereo. Miller says that’s usually where customers start when they come to his store seeking a Bluetooth solution to their dilemma. He suggests that a set of Bluetooth-enabled headphones may be a better solution, as those can also be used for exercising. But make sure to keep one ear clear to hear emergency vehicles and other road sounds. Note: If you already own a set of regular earbuds, especially a set that came with a device such as an iPhone, it may already have a microphone built in and controls to answer or end a call.

Pro: Works with most smart phones.

Con: Likely to look pretty dorky. Requires recharging. Easy to lose and can be distracting to adjust on the ear or press buttons on it while driving.

Got thoughts on the column or the hands-free ordinance in general? Let me know. You can read the full piece here and also see a video I shot that goes with the column with some advice from the folks at Best Buy.