Right now, could you imagine a world where cell phones were nonexistent? Where text messaging was an unknown concept. For many of us, the thought of not having that mobile phone in our pocket or purse is a cause for panic. Mobile phones have revolutionized many aspects of our lives, including the way we do business, how we keep in touch with loved ones and how we communicate in general.

In 2009, the National Safety Council (NSC) and CTIA-The Wireless Association (an international organization representing wireless communications since 1984) reported that in 2000, 97 million people were wireless mobile phone subscribers. In 2009, the numbers reached almost 280 million. CITA also reported on the rapid growth in text messages sent monthly. Again, in 2000, 12.2 million text messages were sent out monthly. Take a moment and think of your own text messaging habits, then think of your classmates, coworkers, family and friends. Knowing what you know about your own texting habits and those of the people you know, is it a surprise that from the 12.2 million text messages in 2000, 2009 reports 135.2 billion text messages sent monthly? No, not really.

At the urging of the NSC and many other activist groups, states all over the United States have passed laws banning cell phone use while driving, and more and more are banning texting while driving as well. With these laws in place, drivers are turning to a Bluetooth car kit to keep them connected while maintaining a much safer driving environment.

This number is huge and still growing rapidly. Coupled with the over use of cell phones and text messaging, come the car-related accidents that occur while using your mobile phone while driving. In 2009, The NSC estimated that in 2008, 28 percent of all crashes, or 1.6 million, were attributed to drivers talking on mobiles phone. An additional 3 percent were attributed solely to texting while driving.

People are dying because drivers' hands are not on the wheel, their eyes are not on the road and their focus is elsewhere. That is why, a few years, ago, the NSC began an advertising campaign. By placing the ads on billboards all over the country, the message reaches an audience of one million daily. The billboards feature the text "Death by Cell Phones" and show pictures of those who have lost their lives in cell-phone related car accidents.

Many Bluetooth car kits feature a hands-free profile, allowing the driver's focus to return to the road and the traffic ahead.

Many Bluetooth kits, like the BlueAnt S4 and Motorola Roadster, have a MotoSpeak application that allows the driver to receive and dictate text messages through voice commands only, no hands involved. When a text message is received, the Bluetooth car kit will announce who the message is from and proceed to read the message back. If your phone supports it, emails can be answered in the same way as well.

Other Bluetooth kits like the MOTOROKR T505 and Jabra Cruiser allow drivers to send, reject and end calls all with voice commands. These kits will also announce callers, as long a they're programmed in your phone book. Easy pairing, easy use.

Like cell phones, a Bluetooth car kit can be taken with you wherever you go. Simply slip the metal clips or magnets from the back of the device to detach it from the driver's sun visor. Many of the kits are small enough to fit in your pocket and make perfect desk companions at work or home. Some of the kits' metal visor clips double as a desk stand for even more convenience.

According to the NSC, talking on cell phones while driving have a four-times increased crash risk over those using a Bluetooth car kit, or not using any device while driving. Is taking that risk really worth the conversation with your boss or bantering with friends? Bluetooth kits are moderately priced, extremely easy to install and pair with your phone, and are convenient to use in and out of the car. With all the advantages of a Bluetooth car kit, there really is no reason not to set the cell phone aside, place both hands on the wheel and focus on the road ahead, all while keeping in touch, the safe way.

More Top Stories