In Brief: Jul. 30, 2001

SAFETY BET Now that New York has criminalized driving with a cell phone stuck to your ear, can other states be far behind? Happily, there are hands-free work-arounds for drivers who can't do without. One of the most elegant is the Avant headset and speakerphone ($149 at The earpiece acts as a cordless phone, linked by radio to a base that plugs into your mobile's earphone jack. When the headset needs a recharge, a built-in speakerphone takes over. Avant works with most cell-phone models, so you should be O.K.--at least until dialing is banned.

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