All Volvo Trucks VN and VHD models in North America will now be sold with a Bluetooth-equipped radio as standard equipment, the company said, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

“Mobile devices are valuable business tools for professional drivers, but we also recognize the need to operate these devices responsibly,” said Ron Huibers, Volvo Trucks senior vice president, sales and marketing. “Like the Volvo I-Shift transmission, in-cab Bluetooth connectivity allows drivers to keep both hands on the wheel.”

The federal government has banned all handheld cell-phone use, starting next year.

Volvo’s Bluetooth package includes a radio unit, highly sensitive microphone mounted in the overhead console, and full audio delivered through the truck’s speaker system. The integrated design allows drivers to view pertinent incoming and outgoing call information on the vehicle’s Driver Information Display.

“While the Bluetooth system utilizes the highly visible Driver Information Display, our unique integrated system prioritizes critical driver messages, like active safety alerts or vehicle operational warnings,” said Frank Bio, Volvo Trucks product manager – trucks. “The information hierarchy we’ve developed and integrated into our trucks means phone calls will not impede drivers from receiving the vital information they need about their vehicle or driving conditions. The system extends the phone’s features, such as answering the phone by pushing one button, as required in the regulation.”

In addition to the Bluetooth mobile phone system, the radio features AM, FM, CD and MP3 capabilities, accessible through an auxiliary and USB connector installed in a dash switch location.