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No DVDs on Dashboards

August 6, 2004



So much for simply counting cows or being the first to spot the license plates of all 50 states on those long road trips.

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Now, more and more drivers are being tempted to put DVD players on their vehicle's dashboards, instead of leaving them for the passengers in the backseat where they belong. (See story, page 1.)

Watching a Hollywood flick while trying to drive at the same time isn't a wise idea. It's a mental distraction that simply raises too many safety questions. Cars are designed to help you keep your eyes on the road, not on an action scene or intricate movie plot.

And yet many electronics companies have made devices that can be installed on dashboards. Drivers themselves are even rigging satellite navigation systems to play movies, overriding safety devices that keep the movies from showing unless the car is in "park."

With cities and states just beginning to fight the safety problems of drivers distracted by cellphone calls, the last thing a driver needs on today's crowded highways is another diversion.

Though some 39 states already prohibit DVDs in the front seat, enforcing any legislation of laws clearly is problematic with millions of cars on the road. Police should now be more vigilant to prevent this trend from spreading further.

When some 4,000 accidents per day are attributed to various driver distractions (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association), more drivers simply must face up to the need to keep their eyes on the highway, and remember their responsibility for the safety of themselves and other precious cargo in the car.

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