The laws, they are a changin’. Here in the glorious Garden State, law enforcement authorities are now allowed to pull over and ticket drivers for using a cell phone while driving… but only if you are not using a hands-free phone.

You’re free to chat all you want, as long as you have a headset or a fancy in-dash system. But if a police officer sees you with that telltale hand to the ear, you’re out of luck. And a hundred bucks.

There’s good and bad to this law, no doubt.

The good, of course, being the hope that there will be fewer accidents caused by cell phones.

The bad, of course, being another erosion of our personal liberties.

I’ve always avoided using a cell phone while driving, for a number of reasons. I’ve always driven stick shifts, and seeing that I only have two arms…

This new law will stimulate the economy in a small way, by pushing people into buying new phones. (It will also serve to further skew the balance of trade… after all, how many cell phones are manufactured here in the States?)

I’m a case in point. My $20 pay-as-you-go Nokia soap bar doesn’t have Bluetooth. While I still don’t want a plan, I would like to be able to use my own phone with the in-dash systems (rather than borrowing one from my kids).