Motorists warned on display devices

TV TARGETED::Drivers will be required to turn off all ‘entertainment display devices’ within their field of vision before starting their vehicle from July 1 next year

By Tsai Wei-chi, Yang Ya-min and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters, with Staff writer

Sat, Nov 24, 2012 - Page 5

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has mandated that starting on July 1 next year all “entertainment display devices” in vehicles must have an automatic shutdown mechanism when the vehicle is in operation.

The ministry said an automatic shutdown mechanism would be a compulsory part of vehicle inspections and if a vehicle repeatedly fails the inspection the owner of the vehicle would have their driver’s license suspended.

The ministry said “entertainment display devices” refers to digital TVs, DVD players and other video equipment installed in vehicles.

Lin Fu-san (林福山), an official at Motor Vehicle Inspection and Administration Services, said that as more people are equipping their cars with entertainment display devices, the rule has been introduced to improve safety on the nation’s roads.

He said that the Road Traffic Security Rules were amended last year and an article was added requiring drivers to turn off all entertainment display devices within their field of vision before starting their vehicle.

Ministry officials said the new mandate was originally due to take effect on Jan. 1, but the ministry wanted to give the public and car repair outlets the time to make adjustments to vehicles and therefore it decided to postpone the date by six months.

Car showrooms have said once the new mandate is in place, they will comply with it and install an automatic shutdown mechanism in any video equipment.

After the amendment was announced last year, many automobile companies started to address the issue, but for existing models with entertainment display devices on board, drivers would have to return to the original manufacturer for the work to be done.

Satellite-guidance systems are classified as display devices for directional assistance and are not included in the amendment.

According to estimates by car repair outlets and garages, the revamp work to install an automatic shutdown mechanism will cost between NT$500 and NT$1,000.

However, some drivers have said they have yet to receive notification of the change from automobile companies and they do not know who should bear the cost of the service.

An official at the Taipei City Government’s Department of Legal Affairs said car manufacturers’ responsibility for vehicle guarantees and repair work are based on the conditions in the contract when the vehicle was sold. As such it is a new requirement and therefore the cost should be borne by the owner of the vehicle.