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California Bans Front-Seat Computer Use

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the law-is-an-ass dept.

Portables 804

An anonymous reader submits "As of January 1, 2004 the State of California has banned the use of notebook computers used anywhere in the front seat (PDF) of a moving vehicle. Previously, the ban applied just to TV sets. Even if your car-pooling front seat passenger is just doing some programming, you can be charged with a crime (AB 301). Thanks go to CA Assemblymember Sarah Reyes for this well meaning but overly broad piece of legislation." The text is mercifully short, but still contains some tricky language; probably the meaning of "installed" at the very least needs to be clarified. Would a laptop affixed to a installed bracket count? Considering the complexity of modern automotive navigation/control systems (now sneaking into budget vehicles, too), it seems like a very fine distinction. The law would seem to ban handheld computers being used as navigation aids, too, or GPS devices with games, and very soon, nearly all cell phones.

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804 comments

Police (-1, Interesting)

thenextpresident (559469) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859418)

So would this mean police and law enforcement wouldn't be able to use computers in the front seats now?

Re:Police (1, Informative)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859442)

RTFA. It is allowed in authorized emergency vehicles.

Re:Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859474)

Dumbass moderators today. A stupid question from a lazy FP-ing karma whore is modded up, while a well-deserved "RTFA" response is modded down as Flamebait.

Re:Police (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859485)

We should have a "-1, RTFA" moderation option :-)

Re:Police (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859471)

From the article: (c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a mobile, digital terminal installed in an authorized emergency vehicle or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or roadside assistance.

Seems like no problem here.

Re:Police (1, Redundant)

bwhaley (410361) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859477)

From the article:
...does not apply to a mobile, digital terminal installed in an authorized emergency vehicle or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or roadside assistance.

RTFA before posting.

Re:Police (1)

fireduck (197000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859480)

of course reading the actual text and finding the following line in the first paragraph: "This prohibition does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in a law enforcement vehicle." wouldn't provide any sort of answer to that question now, would it?

Re:Police (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859489)

I assume the moderator who modded this up didn't RTFA either?

Re:Police (1)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859508)

I think it can be considered an interesting post. I think he meant, "Why is it safe for emergency vehicles and not for the rest of us?"... technologies only allowed by the government is kinda scary... He raises a valid point, even if he didn't RTFA

Re:Police (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859600)

It is probably considered safer for emergency vehicles because:

  1. The drivers of emergency vehicles are (or should be) trained to be better drivers than the average driver
  2. It is an emergency vehicle. Look closely at the word emergency. As in "it is an emergency, someone might die". This is not the same as some schmo reading his email while driving in heavy traffic


As for "technologies only allowed by the government is kinda scary*", what technologies are you talking about??? This is a law governing where you can use those technologies, not which ones. Personally I consider this law redundant. This situation should be covered by, or at least tacked on to, current laws covering "thou shalt drive with due care and attention at all times". Now that is a broad law.

*What, like nuclear weapons...

Re:Police (5, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859570)

Before anyone mods me, I did RTFA.

Since when do we simply assume that cops are better drivers than other people? The only point I'll concede to that is that they are trained to handle higher speeds. That doesn't automatically mean that they can still handle their front-seat gadgets better. If anything, driving at normal highway speeds can lull a trained person into a false sense of "normalcy".

In any case, I'm not buying the notion that cops are any better at typing while driving than the rest of us. If anything, because they are vested with more power than Average Joe, they should be distrusted more.

Civinilan laws dont apply to police (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859594)

Civilian laws don't apply to police, just ask one of them.

Seriously though, I bet there are exemptions for both civil servants and related industries such as trucking and public utilities.. ( all would be dead with out it )

Not that I care, ill still use my PDA to find my way around, if I ever visit California. Its a stupid law, and not one id respect.

This one goes out to all my dead homies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859421)

fuck you all. I have all of you.

Linux sux. FreeBSD is teh rawx.

Love Always,
News For Turds

Many times (4, Interesting)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859422)

Many times I've been going somewhere and either needed to get directions for the drive or a phone number and I pulled my PowerBook up to the front seat to get the info. I tried to at least stop somewhere first though...

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859423)

FP!

Laptops while driving (-1, Flamebait)

56ker (566853) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859425)

As a passenger in the passenger seat using a laptop could be distracting to the driver - why not have this legislation?

Re:Laptops while driving (5, Insightful)

Darth23 (720385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859456)

I've seen people reading the newspaper while driving. The idea of having someone driving while working on a laptop is MUCH more frightening that the ida of someone driving while a passenger dows the same thing. Plus, everyone knows that when someone in on the computer is dead tot he outside world. Ever try to talk to someone who's surfing the web? Passengers with laptops would probably be LESS distracting to drivers than passengers WITHOUT laptops.

GNAA / Google confirms: Linux is dying. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859426)

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Reading? Eating? Sleeping? (0)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859429)

How about someone reading or eating or sleeping? Especially the sleeping part seems like it would be more distracting to the passenger than using a laptop. Stupid laws...

Re:Reading? Eating? Sleeping? (1)

dir-wizard (549259) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859449)

Have you ever seen carpoolers in the morning? They read the paper. I can't see a larger hazard than a fully opened newspaper in the passenger seat. I am also curious about law enforcement vehicles. Now they can drive in excess of the speed limit during non-emergencies AND surf the internet... Who is above the law here?

Re:Reading? Eating? Sleeping? (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859581)

"I can't see a larger hazard than a fully opened newspaper in the passenger seat."

That's either a horrible overstatement, or a slight pun on the word "see"

What about the police? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859435)

They're always typing things in while they go.

I guess it's another example of do as I say, not as I do.

Just a slight inconvenience. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859445)

I usually start long compiles and then leave the laptop running on the way home, compiling.

Now, I guess I'll just put it in the back seat.

it's about time some one did this (5, Insightful)

unclefungus (663751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859452)

I almost wrecked into a guy with an LCD screen mounted in his passenger seat. some things are not meant to do while driving. If you "think" you can do it while you drive, then you should pull the car over.

Re:it's about time some one did this (0)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859479)

Some of us have the ability to do two things at once, considering the fact that driving is a rather simple mental process, books should be outlawed too if laptops are, I see lots of people reading books on the road, and it takes more concentration for me to read in my car than glance over at mapquest on laptop.

Re:it's about time some one did this (2, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859540)

>Some of us have the ability to do two things at once,

I really hate people who think this way. "I am above average and don't need to be treated like the rest of you." Just like people who still drink and drive.

>considering the fact that driving is a rather simple mental process

At best you can say that this is the case most of the time. Its that rare time which its a pretty complex thing which could have serious consequences. Thats the part you don't want to get into.

Re:it's about time some one did this (5, Insightful)

akedia (665196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859590)

I sure hope you never drive around where I live, lest you get distracted while you are reading and driving and crash into me. Can you say 'lawsuit'?

Driving is NOT a simple mental process. If it was, don't you think we would have built a robotic system based on a series of simple algorithms to do the driving for us? (Yes I know the military has a few prototypes but that's not my point.) Driving is the process of several visual, audible, and physical processes. You have to be able to see down the road and around your car, you need to hear other drivers' warning and emergency vehicles, and you need to be able to properly physically operate all the controls of your car. In addition, there are many other variables to account for. Weather conditions, traffic conditions, other drivers, animals, children, police and other emergency vehicles, and there are NUMEROUS others. By reading your book, or yapping on your phone, or poking at your laptop, you are taking mental ability AWAY, for whatever duration and capacity, from a particular task for driving. Operating a vehicle SAFELY requires most, if not all of your attention span, and skills that are only acquired with years of experience.

By the way, does anyone here live in the DC Metro area? I moved here from the Philadelphia area a few months ago and the FUCKERS AROUND HERE CANNOT DRIVE! Good Lord, people, get off your phones while you're driving your minivans full of nine kids! Only in northern Virginia do I have to watch the traffic IN FRONT OF ME while I do a high-speed merge onto the Beltway! JESUS, people, find a hole and stick yourself in it! OK I'm done.

Re:it's about time some one did this (1)

OlaL (70511) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859598)

It is not enough to be able to do two thing at once, you should keep your eyes on the road. You never know when that idiot driving in front of you just happens to goof up while you're busy reading Slashdot... :)

Seriously though, how about those head up displays (HUDs) which at least some car manufacturers (GM?) have been introducing? Just hook your laptop to that and voila!

Re:it's about time some one did this (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859638)

Driving is a 'simple mental process' until an incident happens. The more you're multitasking when something happens (nearby car swerves, sudden stops, hydroplane, etc etc) the less likely you'll be reacting to the danger in time or at full capability.

And when you take that risk, you're forcing it on everyone else on the road with you.

Re:it's about time some one did this (1)

unclefungus (663751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859551)

multi tasking on the net, or in the office is one thing. But doing it in a car can get you and others killed. I seriously think that the only thing while driving should be driving. How would you feell if some guy plowed through you're family becuase he was to busy on his laptop looking for directions. I'm sure mapquest didn't tell him to drive through innocent children and mother on the side of the road.

good,bad and the ugly (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859453)

In one respect I'd sad that such a law has to be passed... What kind of idiot would use his laptop while driving? but then what kind of idiot reads a bok while driving, watches TV while driving, puts on MAKEUP WHILE DRIVING????

we all must remember.... over 50% of the population has an IQ below 100. so I guess such laws need to protect the rest of us from the complete morons that are just a inch away from being drooling idiots. now we have to deal with the retards that drive BMW's 3 inches form the rear bumber. why is it that the more you spend on your car the smaller your brain get's behind the wheel?

MOD PARENT DOWN, TROLL. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859483)

This is a troll.

Re:good,bad and the ugly (2, Insightful)

Malachi (5716) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859622)

I just wish we had more license levels. Those who can use devices, those who can speed, those who can't do anything but putter, and have special plates that show it (you know like the proposed RED plate for DUI ppl)

I drive to my capacity which is determined by both physical and enviornmental circumstances. I am not unsafe, I just use those variables to my opportunity and advantage. I'm tired of blanket rules for all the buffoons of the world.. If you're a buffoon, fail a test, get a buffoon sticker and stop fudging with those of us who are able.

When driving began they said that if you went over 35mph you'd go insane.. well that clearly didn't happen.

-M-

heh. (4, Insightful)

pb (1020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859455)

Although some of this does sound overbroad, at least having less drivers using cellphones (especially while driving) is not necessarily such a bad thing, IMO.

Actually, they should just enact a law that states that while driving a car, your attention should be focused on (duh!) *driving the car*, and if you weren't, and you get in an accident, then you should be held responsible for your negligence.

Re:heh. (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859468)

pretty difficult to prove that you were not paying attention... First thing most people do after an accident is get on their cell phone to their insurance companies or to 911.

Re:heh. (2, Interesting)

lone_marauder (642787) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859482)

Actually, they should just enact a law that states that while driving a car, your attention should be focused on (duh!) *driving the car*

I'll make your neurosurgeon aware of that when the attending tries to call his cell for advice re: the catscan of your shattered neck.

Re:heh. (2, Funny)

nettdata (88196) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859493)

Actually, they should just enact a law that states that while driving a car, your attention should be focused on (duh!) *driving the car*

EXACTLY.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen near misses because some woman was doing her makeup on the way to work while driving, or some guy was fishing fries out of the McD's bag while pulling into traffic.

<MarvinTheMartian>And it makes me angry! So very angry!</>

Re:heh. (1)

Xamdam_us (524194) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859501)

You already are responsible for what you do while driving. If you cause an accident you are at fault period. It dose not matter if you were on a cell phone, reading the paper, eating, or using a laptop.

Re:heh. (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859558)

>You already are responsible for what you do while driving.

If you are 100% legally responsible in an accident depends on many things besides if you are "ethically/morally" responsible. One big factor is how good your lawyer is and how crappy your insurance company is.

Re:heh. (0)

Xamdam_us (524194) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859609)

Okay so by your logic then if I plow into a car load of kids because I'm using a laptop while driving and it explodes in a giant fire ball and they all die and I live, I'm okay if I have a good insurance company and/or lawyers? I would be in no way responsible?

Re:heh. (0)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859587)

But proving that a persons attention wasn't on the act of driving might be very hard. Eye witnesses won't be much help since you can't really judge it that well unless you're sitting right next to the person.

I'm all for banning distractions, but some people just *want* to be distracted it seems. "Oh look at that funny car/building/person!".

Banning every kind of monitor except navigation systems from the drivers view and restricting navigation system from accepting input while the car is moving would go a long way to prevent accidents.

And of course, if we could stop people from being so friggin' ignorant to the safety of others we would prevent even more accidents.

So what? (5, Insightful)

cnelzie (451984) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859459)

Really, what's the huge deal? The driver's job is to keep the vehicle on the road and going from point A to point B as safely as possible.

I have seen some real morons driving around the state I live in, fiddling with their cell phone, playing with the radio and many other things. I have also witnessed a number of accidents because some nut was to busy doing everything else instead of driving their car.

I say kudos to legislation that will force drivers to drive, instead of fiddling with all of their electronic gadgets. I am also a little guilty of that myself, I have a cell phone and I really should be using one of those hands free devices and I do intend on getting one.

Re:So what? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859486)

The problem with the law, as I see it, is that it is against the use of these devices in the front of the car at all, rather than just by the driver.

The front passenger using Autoroute (or whatever) on their laptop is genuinely useful, and funtionally equivalent to a satnav system which isn't banned.

making a law that is already a law (2, Flamebait)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859496)

Ummm...if I am not paying attention and get in an accident, jerking off, playing with my cell phone, stairing at the blonde next to me, I cause the accident, I get the ticket. The law already covers this inherently. THe driver that causes the accident gets a ticket. Why is this law even needed?

Re:making a law that is already a law (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859559)

Because they want to stop people doing it BEFORE there is an accident, not after. If people are gonna get fined for not driving properly then fewer people will do it. If fewer people drive like idiots then fewer accidents will occur. Better that than have the surviving driver "get a ticket" for the mother father and children they have just killed.

Re:making a law that is already a law (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859637)

Because this way, they can pull you over and give you a ticket and raise revenues for the state even if you are not doing anything wrong, silly!

Re:So what? (5, Insightful)

EasyTarget (43516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859626)

String them up I say.. I got sideswiped off my bike last week in Amsterdam by some total dork watching hardcore rap video's in his little toy BMW, via a front mount DVD player. THere are a lot of total twats doing that in this town.
Mostly my pride injured but I was not amused.

Watching anything other than the road is just an idiotic thing to do. Full stop. End of discusion. If you think you can drive and also focus on a VDU then you're an arrogant twat who puts your own pleasure before the safety of others.

Front seat passenger (1)

LordK2002 (672528) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859461)

Yeah, because it must be really tempting to look across at some tiny lines of code on your passenger's laptop screen while driving.

K

Governator Ahrnold (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859463)

Ack! Zee Governator iz making zee Caleeforneea a Poleece State!

A good thing, right? (4, Informative)

ksheka (189669) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859464)

This is a good thing, right? I mean, if someone's using a computer in the front seat, chances are the driver's more likely to be distracted by it than if no one were using such a device. In addition, the banning of cell phones by the driver is probably a good thing. Yes, even those ones installed in cars. Haven't you noticed that you're less focused on a hands-free cell phone compared to when your not using one?

While the law is a little broad (no cell phones by the passenger seat occupant), given the hair-splitting going on in courts, it's probably better for the law to be a little broad.

remove vanity mirrors (4, Insightful)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859533)

lets make all cars remove vanity mirrors too then they are distracting for women putting on their make up in the morning. And make women where less revealing clothes so I don't get distracted looking at them. And remove all billboards, they distract me. Hey listen, I pay taxes, I pay for insurance, and I have never been in an accident. So don't be my mother and tell me a bunch of little small things I can't do, because something might happen if I do them. Lets have a little self government. Lets not make a thousand oppressive laws that just replace laws already in place. Like the laws that say you can't hit other vehicles on the road, those laws cover this inherently because if I am not paying attention and hit someone, I get in trouble. Simple as that, no more specific law needed.

They could simplify it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859465)

Why can't they just ban everything not related to driving the car by the driver. Including watching any non-driving related monitors and displays, talking to cellphones and other crap.

Either you drive the car and make sure you are not killing anyone, or you do something else. No multitasking. Simple as that.

Nav systems are OK (5, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859472)

The second page of the PDF [itsa.org] clearly exempts navigation systems from the ban (it also exempts veiw-enhancing monitors like rear-veiw TVs). What it does not exempt are those ever-enlarging screens for audio systems.

Re:Nav systems are OK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859604)

ohhhh, wow! I want an audio system with a screen!

creators ban uprecedented evile's 'business' plan? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859473)

you knew that would happen? yOUR future cannot be determined/endead buy greed/fear/ego based murdering thieving execrable?

mynuts won: infactdead PostBlock devise fails.. (Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 02, @08:20AM (#7859294)
again? here's hoping robbIE's gnu dating service isn't as infactdead?

was going to be:

J. Public scared to debt/disruption?

maybe it just looks that way?

fuddles, malcom, bullowing smoke up yOUR .asp (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 01, @08:34AM (#7852260)
no harm there, until they start forcing the payper liesense softwar gangster stock markup FraUD execrable 'mirrors' on US? tell 'em robbIE?

they exist in some kind of ?pr? ?firm? vacuum constructed before the 'net, during the daze when there was only tv, & print, with NO instant 'feedback'/other opinions. they're won trick ponIEs, so that's all they can do, besides the immoral illegal stock markup FraUD/gangster stuff, which isn't working very well due to decreasing momeNTdumb.

planet/population rescue, gnu millennium edition? (Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, @12:08PM (#7846083)
no need to wrap it, just put it on the kharm(a).

making the case that the won-eyed girl is a phonIE (mynuts won, beating a lame won to debt?)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, @06:48AM (#7844071)

will corepirate nazi felon ?pr? ?firm? scriptdead execrable (mynuts won, it's ok if you do it for monIE?)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 31, @06:44AM (#7844061)
skew/FUDge survey results/EVERYTHING?

you can bet your .asp again on that won. fortunately we have robbIE's 'stuff that matters' slowgun, & his gnu dating service to keep US abreast of reality/prevent softwar gangster hypenosys mindphuking?

&, failing that, we have the:

pateNTdead eyecon0meter used to .controll ?pr? ?firm? crap? (mynuts won, need a date buddIE?)
by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 30, @02:38PM (#7837849)
that's right. this stuff is unbreakable, & wwworks on several (more than 3) dimensions.

morons build vessel that floats on any suBStance? (mynuts won, no need to be suspicious?)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @02:53PM (#7829639)
you can bet your .asp on that won?

creators/humankind converge to repel unprecedented evile? (mynuts won, who run our 'banks'?)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @02:51PM (#7829610)

& why not? what other options are there for us?

eyecon0meter: survival most sought after feature? (mynuts won, get yOUR freedumb here?)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @02:48PM (#7829586)

creators' badtoll over corepirate nazi execrable (mynuts won, many think hangin's way too good for the skalywags?)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @02:46PM (#7829567)
disposal?

newclear power dissed/cussed? (mynuts won, no animals killed buy MiStake in newclear power generation)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @02:41PM (#7829536)
&, it's free as in free.

newclear powered blips explore corepirate nazi (mynuts won, no lowrating robbIE's sponsors?)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 29, @07:53AM (#7826913)
cesspool?

pheWWW.

lookout bullow. the daze of the phonIE payper liesense ?pr? ?firm? hypenosys stock markup FraUD softwar gangster execrable, is WANing into coolapps/the abyss, at the increasing speed of right.

mynuts won: solar(is) power included?

stuff that really matters is...? by Anonymous Coward (Score:-1) Wednesday December 31, @12:14PM

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... the kode has been showed.

* MOD PARENT UP by Anonymous Coward (Score:-1) Friday January 02, @08:23AM
o putting metal in your .asp? by Anonymous Coward (Score:-1) Friday January 02, @08:32AM
* ALL of US bushwhacked buy felonious execrable by Anonymous Coward (Score:-1) Friday January 02, @08:27AM

If you're driving (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859476)

Then you shouldn't be doing anything that takes your attention away from the road - watching TV, consulting a map/navigation computer, changing the channel on the radio, using a phone, anything.

That said, the linked text specifically exempts global positioning, mapping, vehicle information and vision enhancement displays. I would imagine that GPS units that include games would be covered, as long as you're not playing the game. Let's try to exercise some common sense, shall we?

Re:If you're driving (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859589)

Common sense waved bye bye to this country long ago.

Re:If you're driving (0)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859605)

I completely and 100% agree with you. When you're driving, you should be *driving*, not doing all kinds of other stuff.

What about passengers? (1, Interesting)

Aens (737179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859478)

Why shouldn't I be allowed to have my wife, sitting passenger side, connect to MapQuest to help me with driving directions?

Re:What about passengers? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859525)

Why shouldn't I be allowed to have my wife, sitting passenger side, connect to MapQuest to help me with driving directions?

Because that's the male code:

Rule 387: Never admit to your wife that you are lost or need directions. You know exactly where you are, and even if it does not appear that you are going anywhere useful, you are certain that you haven't passed that building twice already.

Re:What about passengers? (2, Interesting)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859526)

I think it's similar to the logic that open containers of alcoholic beverages (in some states, at least), are allowed in the backseat of a car, but neither the driver or the front seat passenger may have an open container, because otherwise if you're pulled over, you just hand the drink to the front seat passenger.

I suppose, using similar logic, if I got pulled over for using my laptop while driving (what TLA are they gonna call this, anyway? DWC, for Driving While Computing?), and I hand the laptop to my front seat passenger, then I'm in the clear, unless computers are banned from the frontseat altogether...

so this means (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859487)

that I can no longer use my laptop whilst using my mobile, holding my coffee, speaking to a passenger and driving. Damn

Rus

Re:so this means (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859510)

.. that I can no longer use my laptop whilst using my mobile, holding my coffee, speaking to a passenger and driving. Damn

Yes, but you can still have your firearms loaded and ready to rock!

/wanders off chanting U-S-A! U-S-A!

Big Deal (2, Insightful)

filtersweep (415712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859488)

Cell phone use while driving has been banned in many european countries for years. People actually respect the law and no one complains.

I have no issue at all with any distracted driver laws. And yes, a GPS system can be a hazard while driving.

I think it is a bizarre US issue that driving is somehow a god-given right... it is legal to drive a five times the legal intoxication limit of many european countries, while shaving, watching TV, reading a book, fiddling with the GPS, talking on the phone, etc... meanwhile we have a realitively high road mortality rate?

It seems many people regard any laws aimed at safety to somehow be inconvenient (even seatbelts). We do not even have mandatory vehicle safety inspections (closest thing are emissions tests).

Safety is a low priority in the US.

Resist change!

Keep the government out of our vehicles!

(sorry the sarcasm font did not properly display in your browser)

Re:Big Deal (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859535)

" People actually respect the law and no one complains." Not in Germany. People on the phone while driving all over the place.

Re:Big Deal (1)

filtersweep (415712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859628)

Germany is a huge and obvious exception to the rule (with speed limits at the very least), but still, I would argue that even Germans regard driving more as a skill and priviledge than most people in the US. I have no idea what their laws are regarding cell phones either... hey, I did not say "everywhere."

In many parts of Scandanavian countries, they publish grisly accident photos in the paper- of practically every driving fatality- including photos of the mangled vehicles, bodies covered with blankets, etc. It truly borders on the macabre. After New Years we get to see all the missing fingers photos and faces blown off following fireworks "mishaps."

I know I am off topic, but my point relates more to the culture as a whole, and how they regard collective safety.

Re:Big Deal (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859584)

I think people just resent being told what to do because everyone almost automatically considers themselves to be "probably the safest driver on the road" so when they are eating their breakfast, grooming their dog, practicing their golf swings etc whilst driving they are sure that they are "doing it responsibly and safely"

The problem is of course that in reality they are no where near as perfect as they like to think they are and even if they are perfect 99.9% of the time they spend driving it's the 0.1% when they aren't concentrating that they end up crashing.

That's why laws like this one are so important, it's a way of impressing on people the actual definition of responsible driving as opposed to their perceived definition of responsible driving e.g. "it's me doing playing quake on my laptop and I sure don't want to kill anyone on the road so I must be playing quake responsibly".

The fact is that cars and driving are a part of almost everyones daily routine and it's also a fact that it's very easy to kill a lot of people through a lapse of concentration in a car so any law which helps promote the idea that when driving a car you should be concentrating properly on the job in hand is a good thing in my opinion.

Text of the law (4, Informative)

john82 (68332) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859495)

For those who might not make it to the link...

Existing law prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle that is equipped with a television receiver, screen, or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast, if the device is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is visible to the driver while operating the motor vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in a law enforcement vehicle.

This bill would recast this prohibition and, additionally, would prohibit any person from driving a motor vehicle if a video monitor, or
a video screen, or any other, similar means of visually displaying a video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is operating and visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle. This prohibition would not apply to specified equipment or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or roadside assistance. Because a violation of this prohibition would be a crime, the bill would establish a state-mandated local program.


So to answer some of the existing questions, law enforcement vehicles do not apply. However, if your co-working is wardriving while in the passenger seat, that's a vi-o-lation.

Re:Text of the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859550)

the bill would establish a state-mandated local program.

I guess california doesnt have a reckless driving law? Why on earth to legislators think you need a new law to deal with every permutation of idiocy. Just enforce the !#$#% laws on the books for the new situation.

Police giving self tickets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859504)

I dont know what california police car setups are like but where I am they all have laptops inside their cars mounted where the driver can easily use them while they are driving.. Does this mean that their laptops must be mounted in another location or even more likely.. that they are above the law..=/

Tainted Water (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859512)

What's in the water out there in California? You sure have some wacky laws. Did you know it's illegal in Ca. for a woman who weighs over 200 lbs. to ride a horse wearing shorts? No kidding.

Good thing normal states like Alabama don't make up these ridiculous laws.

Re:Tainted Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859619)

Good thing normal states like Alabama don't make up these ridiculous laws.

Yeah, that's because in Alabama, They [cnn.com] claim God writes all the laws! Whoopee!

The irony is these fucking rednecks have no idea that their philosophy is 100% in agreement with Osama bin Laden---prayer in schools, check; religious authority creating laws, check, not teaching evolution, check...the list goes on.

What about... (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859519)

...those large screens on the side of the road called 'billboards'? You can see them from the front seat, right? joke...

I have a small LCD TV (with a rear-view camera and DVD player) I can see while driving. I use it for 'navigation' as well. Damned if I'm going to rip it out.

Re:What about... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859579)

Vid screens (TV, DVD, etc) visible from the drivers seat are supposed to be interlocked with the ignition. Car on, screen off.

A factory installation would have this. Your garage hack may well be illegal, even before this law.

When traveling... (2, Insightful)

dcordeiro (703625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859541)

it should be forbidden to do ANYTHING else but drive. And it also applies to other car passengers.

God damit!! It's not a fucking game, it's your life you're betting.

I had a terrible car accident last year because a moron driving at 200km/h crashed into my car after (without knowing) changing lanes in the highway because HE WAS TRYING TO FIND A PARTICULAR CD to play (looking at the back seat).

You should drive, not listen to music, check your appointments, answer a call, watch TV or even check the map. If you want to do any of this thinks: STOP THE CAR FIRST.

your parents must have been proud (2)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859578)

What was more dangerous that he was looking for a CD or doing 200KM/H which for people that aren't european fags that's 124.2742384 mile/hour (mph). Which by the way is already illegal. So lets make laws to prevent accidents that could have been prevented by several other laws allready in place. This for instance, reckless operation, speeding, failure to signal.

Re:your parents must have been proud (0)

dcordeiro (703625) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859636)

well, let me change my post a little and imagine that I was driving ad 40km/h and he was driving at 120km/h (both legal where I live). Is your post still correct ?

Re:When traveling... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859585)

Driving at 200kph (even if you're on one of the rare stretches of road in the world where this isn't speeding) and rummaging around on the back seat counts as driving without due care and attention; its illegal already, yes? Certainly would be in the UK.

not so bad (1)

ximpul1 (607679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859548)

not that i RTFA but in the short description it specifies a Moving vehicle so stopping and compiling 2.6.0 et cetera is fine.

now all this about gps recivers and passengers using laptops and such now that is what needs to be refined. not that im getting arrested these days for jaywalking but the broadness of this law can be both beneficial and harmful to people who are accused but i bet it would be very tough to prove that my passenger playing super mario would affect my driving (turn that crap down!)

relying upon the judicial system (hah!) to handle exceptions and such is not only expensive to us normal carbon units (lawyers fees) but it wastes time in our courts (increased taxes).

bad form arnold....

New Product: USB or Bluetooth interlock (2, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859563)

The law [itsa.org] permits displays "if that equipment has an interlock device that, when the motor vehicle is driven, disables the equipment for all uses except as a visual display as described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive."

I would expect some clever peripherals maker (or hacker) to create an interlock device for computers that appropriately locks the computer when the car is in motion. The easiest design would simply blank the screen (a screen saver would not suffice as it might be construed as entertainment). A more complex design, tied to some navigation app, would force the display of the nav app (which is explicitly permitted under this law) and lock out all other apps and distractions. The device could connect wirelessly via bluetooth or via USB. The only obstacle is the hack into the vehicle system to detect the state of the transmission and engage the interlock when the vehicle is shifted out of the "Park."

Recent experiences (1)

Atryn (528846) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859565)

My wife and I spent the holidays out of state with family -- a 6 hour drive away. Yes, on the entire trip back she was playing a game on her laptop in the passenger seat. I did not find this distracting to *my* driving. Occasionally I would hear something and ask her what happened and she would explain.

Guess what? This is no different than rather antiquated forms of distration such as radio (in your own car or the one next to you at 5000 decibals) or (dare I say it?) conversation!

This law goes too far. It prohibits activities that may have nothing to do with the driver.

Dash DVD players usually play only in park. (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859566)

I know those flip up DVD players that fit where your CD player normally would be are set to run only when the car is in park. You can install it yourself apparently and "forget" to hook that safety measure up of course. That begs the question though, why would you sit in your car and watch a DVD if you aren't going to go anywhere?

This just means we need to do some app redesign. (2, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859568)

Many people (myself included) have raised a point about wanting the front passenger to run mapquest/autoroute/whatever. Well, here is the exemption info from the bill:

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when
installed in a vehicle:
(1) A vehicle information display.
(2) A global positioning display.
(3) A mapping display.
(4) A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver's view
forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of
maneuvering the vehicle.
(5) A television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen,
or any other, similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast
or video signal, if that equipment has an interlock device that, when the
motor vehicle is driven, disables the equipment for all uses except as a
visual display as described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive.

So, as I see it, what we really need then is some sort of Knoppix-alike that boots straight into the map application of your choice. Either that, or your navigator is going to have to sit in the back.

GPS (-1, Troll)

Aens (737179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859574)

This, in my eyes, will affect the future of GPS.

No longer will we be able to have a built in LCD terminal for GPS. We will now be stuck speaking to someone, somewhere, asking for directions, help, et cetera.

I wonder if they thought of what happens to all cars retrofitted with LCD GPS systems? Are they now illegal?

Re:GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859608)

If you were to use your eyes to read the article you would see that things like GPS are exempted from this legislation.

Re:GPS (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859610)

Read That Fine Article. There is a specific exemption for GPS devices, Sat Nav devices and even generic devices if they are rigged in such a way to lock out the other features while the vehicle is moving.

Re:GPS (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7859624)

Why read the article when you can do it for him?

solutions to this problem... (1)

Capt_Troy (60831) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859583)

A good solution to this for those of you who just need to watch movies while driving is to set up a series of mirrors that flip the image so that you can see it in your rearview mirror with the player in the back seat. That way you can drive down the highway staring into your rearview mirror! Or you can just get someone to ride in the backseat and provide a running commentary about what's going on in the movie. "Oh man! Murtaugh and Riggs just blew up a semi man!"

I don't think this is a problem. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859607)

A passenger using a computer can be terribly distracting.

When you're driving a car, thats your focus -- driving. Touch screen video nagivation and vehicle controls are dangerous, too. It still amazes me they're allowed. I've watched my parents swerving all over the road trying to change radio stations in their Lexus because they retardedly put the radio controls in the GPS navigation system.

Personally, I hate having any distractions in a car when I'm driving. One of my cars is a fairly new Audi, and the dash is very nicely reserved, nothing jumping out at me. My other car is a vintage 911, and it doesn't even have a radio or a clock. I can give driving 100% of my attention in both cars.

How the government thinks its a good idea to put someone behind the wheel of a 6000lbs SUV with screaming kids and a DVD playing in the back, a touch screen navigation system, and their spouse using a laptop in the passenger seat all with 15 hours of required drivers training is totally beyond me. They'll spend billions preventing terrorism, but they could save 100x the number of people if they mandated real drivers training and taught people common sense.

Laws like this should be encouraged. Make driving more inconvenient for people who are going to be dangers on the road anyway.

I think this is a problem. (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859641)

Laws like this should be encouraged.

ouch...

Next it will be the way you hold the steering wheel or the shoes you wear while driving. You'll be forced to buy state mandated fire proof clothes and install halon systems just to leave your driveway.

When your car has a cage to keep you from interacting with your passengers, you'll be free to wonder what happened to your rights as a human. Think I'm kidding? Watch this law die soon.

A Wise Man Once Said (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859616)

First they came for my Apple ][e but I upgraded already

Then they came for my Amiga 500 but I upgraded already

Then they came for my Dell with Windows 98 but I was using Linux

Then they came for my Palm Pilot but I was using paper again

Then they came for my laptop but it was in my car

So they came for my laptop in my car and there was no one left to help me!

AB 301, Reyes. Vehicles: video displays (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859617)

Assembly Bill No. 301
CHAPTER 303
An act to amend Section 27602 of the Vehicle Code, relating to
vehicles.
[Approved by Governor September 4, 2003. Filed
with Secretary of State September 5, 2003.]
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 301, Reyes. Vehicles: video displays.
(1) Existing law prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle
that is equipped with a television receiver, screen, or other means of
visually receiving a television broadcast, if the device is located in the
motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is
visible to the driver while operating the motor vehicle. This prohibition
does not apply to a mobile digital terminal installed in a law enforcement
vehicle.
This bill would recast this prohibition and, additionally, would
prohibit any person from driving a motor vehicle if a video monitor, or
a video screen, or any other, similar means of visually displaying a video
signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating
and is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of
the driver's seat, or is operating and visible to the driver while driving
the motor vehicle. This prohibition would not apply to specified
equipment or to a motor vehicle providing emergency road service or
roadside assistance. Because a violation of this prohibition would be a
crime, the bill would establish a state-mandated local program.
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state.
Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act
for a specified reason.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 27602 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
27602. (a) A person may not drive a motor vehicle if a television
receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other,
similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video
signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating
Ch. 303 --2--
93
and is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of
the driver's seat, or is operating and visible to the driver while driving
the motor vehicle.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to the following equipment when
installed in a vehicle:
(1) A vehicle information display.
(2) A global positioning display.
(3) A mapping display.
(4) A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver's view
forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of
maneuvering the vehicle.
(5) A television receiver, video monitor, television or video screen,
or any other, similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast
or video signal, if that equipment has an interlock device that, when the
motor vehicle is driven, disables the equipment for all uses except as a
visual display as described in paragraphs (1) to (4), inclusive.
(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a mobile, digital terminal
installed in an authorized emergency vehicle or to a motor vehicle
providing emergency road service or roadside assistance.
SEC. 2. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the
only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will
be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates
a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction,
within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or
changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of
Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

I'll make a deal with you (4, Insightful)

droleary (47999) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859623)

I'll allow you these laws that limit my freedom (however justifiably) if you relax other laws that limit my freedom. To wit, for every communication device that I don't carry in my vehicle, let me go 5mph faster, since I would clearly be less distracted and therefore more able to drive at higher speeds (slower traffic move right, damn it! :-). Given that I have a motorcycle with no possible distraction from radios, cell phones, TVs, computers, massage seats, kids, or anything else to take my attention from the road, I would finally be able to open this baby up! As it stands, I'm expected to putter through traffic at the same speed as a soccer mom on her cell phone with 4 screaming kids in the back watching TV. TANJ!

What about the police? (5, Insightful)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7859629)

I assume law enforcement is exempt from this? Have you seen lately all the computer equipment in the front seat of a police car, aimed directly at the officer driving? Doesn't seem fair that they are allowed to use that stuff and the average joe isn't. Most of the time around here, I see the police driving far worse than anyone else on the road.
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