TV satnav worries accident watchdog
By Matthew Sparkes
Posted on 22 Jun 2009 at 16:38
Satnav firm Mio is launching a device with an integrated TV tuner, prompting concern from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The Navman Spirit TV range includes a Freeview television tuner which is intended to be used "during breaks in the journey or at their final destination."
However, there is little to prevent drivers using it on the move.
When the system is first turned on a warning message is displayed, telling the user not to watch television while driving. If this is ignored, a secondary warning message kicks in if the GPS chip detects the vehicle is moving at more than 5mph.
"It's not intended at all for drivers to use while they are driving," a Mio spokesperson assured PC Pro. They explained that the ability to watch television on the move was for users travelling by bus, and for children travelling in the back of a car.
While these two safeguards legally protect Mio, they may represent little more than an annoyance for reckless and bored drivers - a thought that deeply worries RoSPA.
"At the moment the law prevents the use of some TVs in cars, and that's because it would be completely impossible to watch TV and drive safely at the same time," Duncan Vernon, road safety manager for RoSPA, told PC Pro.
"In an ideal world this device would switch off when driving starts, so we could say that at no point should this be on in the view of the driver. It's just distracting."
RoSPA believes that the law regarding video devices in cars is "fuzzy" and needs updating. The group points out that the use of cathode ray televisions in cars is illegal, but that there is no mention of LCD technology.
Mio's Spirit TV comes in two versions; the V505 with a 4.7in screen, and the larger 7in V735. The two devices will go on sale in the UK in July, priced at £230 and £300 respectively.
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