April 25, 2003 at 12:43 AM CDT - Updated June 20 at 1:10 PM
Drivers Fone System By: Amy Jacquin
Many accidents are caused by people talking on their cell phones, something outlawed in many states.
Well, the latest hands-free gadget is called the Drivers Fone System.
The Drivers Fone System requires three AA batteries, not included, and simply hooks onto the back of your vehicle's headrest. If you don't have a headrest on two pedestals, there is an extra adaptor strap you can buy. And makers promise it works on at least six of the most popular brands of phones.
But we run into a problem as soon as we try to plug it in. The system wire is supposed to plug into the phone. But our Nokia phone requires a special adaptor to make it fit... so we have to go buy one of them before we can test the Drivers Fone System.
Amy Jacquin went out and bought a $10 special adaptor. Now the Drivers Fone System plugs in, and the phone registers 'headset.'
She's ready to try calling the station. A picture on the box shows the unit being used in a convertible, saying it has superior noise suppression technology. But our first test is much easier... inside with the window rolled up.
The phone rings, a co-worker answers, and Amy starts speaking... but they hang up!
"I guess they couldn't hear me," says Amy. "They hung up."
Okay, take two...
"They hung up again!" she laughs.
The third time she practically swallows the microphone, trying to make sure they hear me.
"Hello, can you hear me Shirley?" Click. "I guess not."
Then someone tries calling Amy's cell phone...
"Hello, KFVS," Amy answers. "Can you guys hear me?" Click.
We try it a few more times, with the same result each time... Photographer Todd Madding went inside the station, to show us what THEY're hearing on that end.
"Hello, Heartland News," answers Assistant News Director Kathy Sweeney. "Amy, if that's you, I can't hear you. Nobody's there."
Amy wonders if the microphone is broken. Yet everything else works... And the system has been protected ever since it's been in our possession. So, based on our series of tests, the Drivers Fone System flunks out. Don't waste $20 on this thing... pull over to make your phone calls instead.