The New York Senate has approved a bill that would forbid
drivers from watching videos while behind the wheel. Similar laws related to
driver distractions, with particular focus on video screens in vehicles, have
draw consideration this year in several states.
New York state law already prohibits drivers from watching
any video-monitoring device that is in front of the back of the driver’s seat – regardless of whether the device interferes with safe driving.
Sponsored by Sen. Carl Marcellino, R-Syosset, the bill would
amend the law to prohibit satellite video entertainment broadcasts, VCR or DVD
transmissions or replays, or any other similar video entertainment
presentations located within the driver’s view.
The bill would provide an exception if the equipment is
disabled while the vehicle is in motion. It would also exempt global
positioning and navigational display systems.
Marcellino’s bill – S1310 – has been sent to the Assembly
New York isn’t alone in its pursuit for stricter guidelines
of what drivers can and cannot view while behind the wheel.
Massachusetts law already prohibits drivers from watching
any device that receives a television broadcast if it’s located in front of the
back of the driver’s seat or is visible to the driver – regardless of whether
the device interferes with safe driving.
Sponsored by Sen. Jarrett Barrios, D-Cambridge, the bill
would amend the law to prohibit drivers from watching any device capable of
displaying “a television broadcast or video feed” that is located within the
The restriction wouldn’t apply to dashboard readouts or
other displays of information about a vehicle’s operation or conduct.
Drivers found in violation of the rule could be fined
between $100 and $200.
Barrios’ bill – S1864 – is in the Joint Committee on
A failed effort in the Alaska Legislature would also have
forbidden drivers from watching television or video monitors while the vehicle
is moving. It allotted for stiffer penalties if the driver causes an accident
that kills or injures another person.
Sponsored by Rep. Max Gruenberg, D-Anchorage, the bill would
have created the crime of driving with a screen operating.
Watching the video screen while driving could have resulted
in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000. If a person
watching the screen was involved in an accident and injures or kills another
person, the charges would have jumped from a misdemeanor to a felony.
The House-approved bill, HB12, remained in a Senate
committee when the session ended.
Another failed effort would have added DVDs and video games
to the off-limits list in Wisconsin.
Drivers found in violation of the rule could have been fined
as much as $400.
Sponsored by Rep. Gary Bies, R-Sister Bay, bill – AB567 – failed to get a final vote on the Assembly floor.