I hate my car navigation system because it will not let me program it while I am moving. When this happens I use my cell phone. With the cell I now have to hold it, focus on it and drive. Wouldn't it be safer to just let me use the car navigation system. If you take too many controls away, people will find another way to do the same thing if that is important to them. I hope that no one is watching TV and driving, but if I agree to blocking TV, I fear how many other elements of life they will take away in the process. You know that you can watch TV on your cell phone now!
With the navigation system, I agree that it is difficult to find the button, push them, and drive. Voice commands would solve this. I don't know if they block voice commands for programming in-vehicle navigation systems while moving. I hope not. If they do I do not plan to by the fancy stereo, nav station, video player in my next minivan. I will fall back on my cell again. It has voice commands functionallity and it works while moving.
So many states in the U.S. have enacted legislation banning cellphones AND texting, and NOW some geniuses invent an even more consequential technology??? That's just ludicrous!!!! It's too bad that the designers of the dash-screens didn't foresee this eventuality, and make the screen communications & display totally incompatible w/ TV reception, either by embedded coding or some other firmware method.
Florida's legislature wraps up it's agenda at midnight tonight. There was a bill pending, which heretofore didn't see the light of day, regarding making it illegal to text while driving. However, in this current legislative session, the bill got through committee, but has since died. While, personally I'm NOT against cellphone use while driving, I AM totally against texting while driving. In my case, I travel approx. 35 miles to work each day on a major highway with a posted speed limit of 55 MPH. I see so many occurrences of erratic driving BECAUSE of inattention due to texting. In a mocking action of texters, when at a traffic light, I sometimes remove a loafer, and put it to my ear, or place it on the steering wheel so others can see me "communicating with my SHOE!!!! A deputy sheriff spotted it once, and laughed out loud. Then the light turned green, and we were off to the races again!
I'm from Massachusetts, and clearly listed in the RMV manual for my driver's license exam almost 40 years ago was a prohibition on TV reception viewable by the driver while the car was in motion (MGL, Ch. 90, Section TBD). I expect most other states have similar laws. However, the law says nothing about what you're doing while the car is parked. Many aftermarket car entertainment systems have DVD viewing capability and some Blu-Ray players are available. I looked at them once, and asked the salesman about the law that forbids viewing while the car is moving. He replied that the system has an electrical connection to the car's park or neutral switch that prevents operation when the car is shifted out of Park (or when the clutch is relesed with the car in gear for manual transmission cars). Adding a similar interlock for the on-board navigation system would be very simple (you might already have all of the hardware electrical connections, so you would just have to change the firmware).
Given that many navigation systems already interface with and may control the radio, many of the pieces are already in place, it's just a matter of time before one car manufacturer puts it all together and offers it for sale as original equipment. I agree, it's probably not a great idea, but if it's going happen anyway, it's better that someone thinks about how to minimize the risks rather than implementing it in an unsafe way via the back alleys of the aftermarket.
NadineJ says "I certainly wouldn't put one country above another" followed by "Our driving, much like our culture, is more ego driven." and "this would not be safe in the US because were not as good drivers". Hmmmm.
I would disagree that this is a "cultural" issue (as though Asian's don't care if someone is killed so another person can watch a rerun of Zatoichi?). It's more likely that since they are late adopters of the car lifestyle, the public hasn't been quite as outraged by the deaths caused by abuses yet. It took decades here for MAD to affect drunk driving laws. Asia will catch up with us, eventually.
However, I would disagree that this isn't already happening here. Not too long ago Mercedes had an add campaign touting their NAV system's touch screen and it's ability to surf the web. This is far worse than TV. Touch screens because they don't require a quick glance but a prolonged interaction. The web because, again, it's interaction rather than background noise.
The video screen built-in to my rearview mirror has two inputs as has the larger 7" one that I attach to the windscreen when on holiday (vacation). Normally they display the signal from the camera that is just above my numberplate and in-line with the ball of my tow-hitch and is only active when I reverse (back-up) - that makes it easy to hitch up a trailer or caravan as well as avoiding obstacles (and feral children) when reversing.
When I'm towing a caravan, I use the larger screen and the second input is used for a camera on the back of the van as the caravan blocks the normal rearview mirror. In this way I can see small cars that creep up behind me and can be missed in the wing mirrors. I have that input switched to stay on when selected.
The documentation for the displays assumes that the second input will be from a DVD player or some other entertainment source!
If safety is your PRIMARY concern - Don't Drive! Common sense, folks. You know, that stuff your parents tried to teach you. It is the responsibility of the DRIVER to determine and establish the safe and effective operation of their vehicle. Not the auto makers and certainly not the government (God forbid).
What about the front seat passenger? Why should they be penalized and restricted from watching a movie during a long boring trip. Why is the front seat passenger also restricted from making changes to the navigation system?
It all boils down to common sense and self control. I would like to see the automakers free to offer products their customers want and I don't want the government telling me when and where I can sneeze or be fined.
If someone is observed operating a vehicle dangerously, then you go after them. You don't penalize an entire population permanently for something that might happen to one in a million.
What would be useful is a tuner and receiver for the audio only of live television. There was a service here, AutoTalk, that used the SAP channel when television was analog, to provide continuous traffic reports; for all other channels, it received the audio feed. The company seems to be defunct.
If it causes more accidents, the insurance companies will have the stats to prove it. Then it will just be a matter of time before it's an added premium to have such a unit, or just a refusal to cover vehicles with one installed. Portable DVD players and cell phones are hard to police. But I can see a claim being denied because a dashboard screen was modified to display TV or movies.
Given the litigious nature of North Americans, this may be another one of those cultural differences being mentioned.
Honestly, I don't think a display throwing light into the cabin near the driver is a good idea. Personally, I find it hard to see at night when the passenger turns on a cell phone display to answer a call or check messages. The driver should not be watching anything other than the roadway.
I am not against the use of cell phones while driving and think it is silly to have laws and company policies against there use, but I do think the driver needs to use a lot more consideration when making a judgement to use a cell phone other than traffic congestion and personal driving skill level.
Everyday I drive across town from 55mph rural blacktop through 25mph residential street and wonder how could you not see that giant beaver crossing the road or how could you possibly think that your constant migration to or across the center line is safe or driving on the center line is okay. Twilight and dusk are the worse times to drive, yet people will use a cell phone and still drive too fast. Animals move around during these times and you would drive slower if the weather was poor.
Excellent post, Chuck. I do think that TV is probably a bridge too far in terms of safety concerns (and potential litigation). It's interesting but not surprising that Toyota isn't too keen on the idea. But we'll see how consumer sentiment shifts on this issue, and if any manufacturer introduces it to test the market.
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