I admit it -- I like TV as much as the next guy. I love the Food Network and I tune in to MTV religiously every Monday night to see what the Teen Moms are up to. But television in the front seat of your car?
Recently, Senior Editor Chuck Murray told you about this, and I can't help but wonder -- who can't wait to get home in order to see what the Kardashians are complaining about? Is a DVR considered passé?
Luckily, regulators, automakers, and suppliers told us front-seat television technology is unlikely to take hold here in the US. A Toyota spokesman said his company is "categorically against it." But, there are aftermarket companies out there who sell and install conversion kits.
One such company offers this disclaimer:
Warning: The vehicle driver must always keep their eyes and attention on the road at all times.
In my opinion, by offering the technology, they are basically saying: We don't want you to watch TV and drive, but here's a TV for the front seat of your car so you can watch TV and drive.
There should be a law, but there isn't, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A Google search will tell you exactly what you can and can't do with your cellphone in any given state, but you apparently have free rein to watch the boobtube while speeding down the interstate.
I contacted a few different police departments, hoping to get their take on this new technology -- so far, the only response I have received came from the Seattle, WA, PD who said, "We typically don't offer up opinion in situations likes this; it's something we try to steer clear of." (No pun intended.)
Can't say that I blame them.
What do you think? Would you outfit your in-dash navigation to function as a television? Tell us in the comments section below.
Nice story, Jenn. The cops probably haven't had to deal with the downside of front-seat TVs yet. If these TVs become common, I would guess the police will get a good view of the damage this type of driver distraction will inevitably cause. If this catches on, we can expect a resulting rise in traffic deaths. Then it will be banned.
Network tv, as we knew it, is gone. Shared moments like the moon landing or the last episode of M*A*S*H, are a thing of history. Networks have been looking for ways to maintain their bottom lines. Since tv's are more mobile-around the house and in our pockets-televisions in cars is another opportunity for ad revenue.
I haven't seen anything on "why" this is being proposed. GPS and bluetooth in cars were direct requests from consumers.
The "TV" (more like - media streaming device) is meant for viewing when you are not driving. Since I have my phone with a 5" screen, it's 3g/4g/wifi connectivity, I can stream all I want anytime anywhere. So, I will have to say NO to adding another screen to my car.
However, I have two screens on my car for backseat and tailgate viewing. I bought it this way. Having the car for years now.. I have never once used them for anything.
Cabe i totally agree with you .These days mobile phone technology is soo advanced that one can find any sort of information anywhere on their mobile phones even if they want to see videos or something like that it is not difficult these days with the help of mobile phones .Adding tv system to the car is not good according to me from security point of views even if the driver is not intended to watch the television then also by mistake he might put a glance on it secondly if television is on its shadow or lightening can disturb the driver as well.
I wonder in many countries there is bann on talking on mobile phones while driving how can one allow watching television and driving .
Cabe, It's funny you have the back seat screens and don't use them. I think most high end options are never really wanted; they are just part of a "trim package" that had something of interest. We have leather seats in our FFH because they came with the navigation system which was a must for me (I have always disliked leather seats and much prefer cloth, I never would have purchased them if I had had a choice).
But even the back seat screens are distracting to drivers (I find it impossible to drive behind a vehicle with backseat video without trying to see what's on).
I recently rented an RV for a weeklong trip with the family. I bought a new GPS for it, in part because it had an AV input (in my case for a back-up camera, but this TV/DVD capability is already available with many standard GPS units). The AV input didn't work, so I had to take my portable 7" TV and rig it up. It was a lifesaver (especially for changing lanes in heavy traffic), but I wondered if I could get a ticket if pulled over (this is illegal in many states).
I am very surprised that "no TV up front" isn't a federal mandate.
At the state level there are bans on all video distraction devices. Also, people do not want to die, for the most part. So, watching TV is usually not an action in cars. However, texting is... and almost worse.
Also, the TVs in my car are disconnected... They drain the battery. They are cheap screens and the power supply is wasteful.
The companies that provide these installation services in the U.S. don't seem anxious to do press interviews and aren't really saying if consumers are demanding this. In a Wall Street Journal story from Japan, Autobacs Seven said, "We can't help but respond to our customers' needs."
Yes, how many more distractions do we have to offer drivers? All of us have read news stories of cell phone distraction tragedies in our own communities. Can the TV at least have blinders to the driver seat? That way, the passenger will not be distracting the driver with conversation -- unless the passenger reacts vociferously to comedy or action. Just ask yourself, can anything good come of this? I can't think of anything.
Charles, isn't it interesting that the company in question can't seem to distinguish between "needs" and "wants." I want a lot of things that are bad for me (Double fudge chocolate sundae) but I sure don't need it! Televisions in the front seat is pure lunacy. I guess the statistical increase in driving fatalities due to texting is not enough of a wake-up call. My vote is for no phone use or televisions in vehicles. Drivers might actually stay in their lanes and passengers might actually learn to observe and enjoy their surroundings and actually engage in conversation.
Good point, Nancy. Wouldn't you think that an adult driver would be able to distinguish between needs and wants, and would be able limit herself/himself to only the absolute needs while driving? Apparently, that's not the case, though.
Any kind of interactive video display can fraught with danger. However, almost all of the newer cars have them. Why? Because that is what customers want. As someone mentioned in an earlier post, this will be sorted out by the insurance companies who will insist customers pay a higher premium for the added risk of having a video display veiwable by the driver. It really doesn't matter what the display was showing at the time, the first time an automaker gets sued for billions for providing a video interface that distracted the driver, the displays will disappear. Remember, in today's society, it's never the drivers fault. Even providing a disclaimer that says, "do not watch TV while driving" will not be enough to protect the vendor in today's litigious court system. And to those who are saying, "There should be a law", we already have a law that addresses this - Reckless driving. I've seen several instances where this law should be excersized. People eating or putting on make-up. All of these are dangerous distractions, but we don't have specific laws that say you can't do it.
There ARE laws against this type of technology....just not in all states. Texas has a law on the books prohibiting installation of a television that can be oriented so that it is viewable by the driver.
The argument that '...consumers are demanding it...' wouldn't fly well at a looter's hearing.
I don't intend to be a technological stick-in-the-mud, but driving is job #1, not playing Word, surfing the web, or watching tv/movies. Offer it and some moron will install it.
Common sense and personal responsibility seem to be on permanent vacation. 'Just because we can' is no excuse.
"Consumers demand it???" How about a built in liquer dispenser for the driver, based on "the consumers demand it"? This is where our federal government should get into the action and simply say that "you can't sell a car like that here". They have done it based on alleged emisssions, and they have done it based on crash worthyness, so the safety people should certainly be able to stop it based on driver distraction, unless they have been paid off so well that they don't notice the problem. And some of their actions certainly give the impresion that they must be getting paid off to let some things slide by.
Please note that I don't recommend any form of booze dispensors in the front seat of a car. I have seen some of them, though. They were quite interesting.
"They have done it based on alleged emisssions, and they have done it based on crash worthyness"
....And this is why we have big, heavy cars with lousy mileage. The Federal government is NOT the answer to all of life's unpleasantries. They have WAY too much involvement in our day to day lives as it is. Were you aware that the Federal government is only SUPPOSED to do two things? National defense and protect our borders. That's it. Neither of which they are doing very well.
Of course you're not going to get a car with a liquor dispenser. You can install one yourself just like you can modify your car's existing monitor to display videos or TV. Not only do neither of these options make any sense, they're already plenty of laws preventing the use of either. DIU, Open container, reckless driving, etc.
My point is that more laws and regulations are not the answer. Common sense must prevail. Just enforce the laws we already have. We're drowning in them now and it's killing our economy. I'm actually quite surprised the feds didn't place an immediate ban on the over the counter sale of pressure cookers in light last month's terror attack.
My point is that if there were a simple and very clear law enacted that most folks would not be able to install such systems.
Of course an even clearer case is made for enforcing those existing laws mandating personal responsibility, but we have way to many people who deny the existance of personal responsibility for one's acts.
Excellent Post Jennifer. I am totally opposed to TV installation in the front seat. Rear seat --OK, good for the kids and keeps them preoccupied during travel. Several days ago I made comments relative to a post that Charles delivered relative to this same subject. In doing so, I looked up the stats regarding auto accidents due to texting, talking on cell phones, etc. Approximately 30 % of the accidents were due to these two occurrences. I'm one of these guys who says thinks that "heads-up" displays for automobiles is waiting in the wings just to insure people stay focused regardless of what they do.
Interesting thought on the heads-up displays, bobjengr. I still have mixed thoughts about that one. On one hand, it does keep your eyes in front of you, instead of needing to glance down to see the instruments, etc. On the other hand, I would almost think that there would be too much "stuff" in your field of vision that would be a distraction. Anybody have any real world eperience that would prove one way or the other?
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