Driving, Watching TV? No Problem, Some Say

June 2, 2006

Facing a growing trend of drivers who watch television while driving – yes, you read that correctly; televisions mounted to dashboards or DVD screens covering the rear-view mirror are increasingly common – the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MOPT) announced last week that it is studying the possibility of a fine of ¢10,000 (approximately $20) for any driver demonstrating this particular brand of multi-tasking.

A fine of ¢2,000 ($4) is already in place for drivers of public transportation, including buses and taxis, according to Transit Police director German Marín. He told The Tico Times it is not yet clear whether the Transit Law allows for such a fine on other drivers, though a fine is already in place for talking on a cell phone while driving. Authorities are concerned that TV-watching will increase during the upcoming World Cup soccer games, according to the daily La Nación.

However, for some taxistas, driving while watching is perfectly reasonable. One driver spoke with The Tico Times last week while simultaneously driving on the highway between San José and the western suburb of Escazú and watching “Bad Boys II” on a DVD screen that almost completely obscured his rear-view mirror.

“It’s not dangerous… at night, it is, because it reflects a lot (of light),” he said. “You have to be very careful and have good eyesight. Sometimes I watch it (while driving), sometimes I don’t…”

He added that he doesn’t need his rear-view mirror to see behind him, pointing to his side mirrors.

Apparently the law agrees. Marín said drivers are required to have a rear-view mirror – but aren’t prohibited from covering

it up.

 

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