There have been several articles and television reports on distracted driving. These articles center mainly on cell phone use and texts.
Also there have been several cases in court involving distracted driving where someone was looking at a GPS system in their vehicle. The state law in Tennessee is that you cannot have a moving screen or a television in the front seat of a moving vehicle. However, auto manufacturers are now placing a large GPS screen in the middle of the dashboard in cars. Manufacturing of these screens in new automobiles seems to be in conflict with the state laws.
It is extremely dangerous to have a screen in the front seat that people are looking at rather than looking straight ahead at what is happening on the roadway.
I am in hopes that our federal and state lawmakers will look into this inconsistency as it is a dangerous hazard on our roadways.
Chattanooga City Judge
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Good luck with that one. It doesn't matter if a GPS is on the seat, on the window directly in front of them, or on the back of their eyelids, most people aren't smart enough to look at a GPS and drive at the same time.
If it's not a GPS, it's a cell phone. If it's not a cell phone, it's the radio. If it's not the radio, it's putting on makeup or eating a burger going down the road.
Chattanooga drivers are some of the worst I have ever seen. Unless lack of common sense becomes illegal, there's always going to be dumb people doing dumb things, until they start to pay attention because they killed someone.
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I agree with you that GPS systems can be distracting to some drivers, however they do not fall into the category of "moving screens" as far as TCA is concerned.
55-9-105. Televisions in motor vehicles -- Operation or installation -- Applicability -- Violations.
(a) A person shall not operate a motor vehicle with a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen capable of displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, if the receiver, monitor or screen is intended to display images visible to the driver in a normal position when the vehicle is in motion.
(b) A person shall not install in a motor vehicle a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen capable of displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, if the receiver, monitor or screen is intended to display images visible to the driver in a normal position when the vehicle is in motion.
(c) The prohibitions contained in this section shall not apply to:
(1) The following equipment when installed in a motor vehicle:
(A) A vehicle information display;
(B) A navigation or global positioning display;
(C) A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver's view forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle; or
(D) A television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal, if the equipment is designed to prevent the driver from viewing the entertainment or business application when the motor vehicle is being driven;
(2) Television receivers or monitors used in government-owned vehicles by law enforcement officers in the course of their official duties;
(3) A wireless telephone or communication device when used for placing or receiving a telephone call or to access a navigation or global positioning display;
(4) Electronic monitors or displays used to monitor livestock being transported; or
(5) (A) Computer or other electronic displays or monitors used in utility vehicles by employees of the utility in the course of their official duties; provided, however, that use shall be permitted only while the vehicle is stopped, standing or parked;
(B) As used in subdivision (c)(5)(A), "utility" means any person, municipality, county, metropolitan government, cooperative, board, commission, district, or any entity created or authorized by public act, private act or general law to provide electricity, natural gas, water, waste water services, telephone service or any combination thereof, for sale to consumers in any particular service area; and
(C) As used in subdivision (c)(5)(B), "cooperative" means any cooperative providing utility services, including, but not limited to, electric or telephone services, or both.
(d) This section does not apply to local, state or federal law enforcement officers who are engaged in the performance of their official duties.
(e) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
HISTORY: Acts 1955, ch. 40, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., § 59-927; Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 1992, ch. 597, § 1; 1994, ch. 877, § 1; 2001, ch. 2, § 1; 2002, ch. 524, § 1; 2007, ch. 7, § 1.
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I don't disagree that in a few cases a GPS will distract a driver to some minor degree, but if that was the only device we had to worry about, I doubt we would see much improvement in accident stats if it was also outlawed. Many GPS systems, mine included, have voice directions which I find much less distracting. My GPS unit is mounted at the left edge of my visual field, down low, easy to glance at without actually looking away from the road.
Believe me, whenever I see a driver acting in an erratic manner, it almost always involves either animated conversation over the phone or texting while constantly looking up and down. They speed up, they slow down, they drift left or right, but they never pay attention. Unfortunately.