New hazard: Driving while wired

Lawmakers in a dozen states are trying to ban drivers from using video games, computers and fax machines in cars in a new wave of driver-distraction legislation.

New hazard: Driving while wired
Since January, states including Texas, New York and Arizona have considered bills that would limit the use of car electronics that go far beyond cellphones, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Most bills would require violators to pay fines ranging from $50 to $600. So far, only one of this year's proposals has been enacted — in Tennessee.

States also are trying to track how much of a threat electronic gadgets such as iPods and front-seat movie screens pose to safety. Statistics are scarce because it's difficult for police to determine whether an accident was caused by a distraction in the car, but legislators say electronics clearly are grabbing drivers' attention.

"I got in a cab and the cabdriver was watching the fights on a TV he had in the front seat," says New York state Sen. Carl Marcellino, whose bill to prohibit drivers' use of display-generating electronics passed unanimously in the state Senate June 21. "Cars are becoming an extension of the workplace and an extension of the home."

USA Today
Last Mod: 05 Temmuz 2007, 11:52
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