Bill would keep the video screen clean on roads in Michigan

| 5/10/2005

With more and more families purchasing vehicles with built-in video systems and DVD players, entertainment options are limitless for road-bound children.

But when that same technology lets minors see explicit images through the windows of a nearby vehicle, it can be a problem.

The Michigan Senate has voted on a bill, SB131, to curb this situation. The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond Township, would prohibit drivers from screening sexually explicit material that can be seen or heard by anyone within 100 feet of the vehicle.

The bill must now go before the state House and be signed by the governor before it can take effect.

“Parents have a right to teach their kids about the birds and the bees, rather than getting a play-by-play from the car in front of them,” Sanborn said in the State Journal.

If approved, anyone caught violating the measure would face up to a $1,500 fine for a first offense and up to a $5,000 fine for a second offense. Third and subsequent offenders could face up to 93 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Opponents of the bill say the bill isn’t specific enough to enforce, and leaves far too much gray area in terms of what is considered “explicit,” the Lansing State Journal reported. Some worry the law could infringe on passengers watching R-rated movies or even network news broadcasts.

“It’s too broad and very troublesome,” Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, told the State Journal. “Everyone has different opinions. One person’s art is another person’s sex.”

--by Aaron Ladage, Land Line staff