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Computer in view if driver
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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 3:20 pm 
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I am hoping someone can offer some guidace here. I was pulled over for speeding and at the time my wife had her computer open in the front, passenger seat of the car replying to e-mail. The officer was very abrupt and told us that it would be a $150 fine for having the computer in view of the driver. In my opinion, "in view" is pretty subjective and I am unable to read anything on her computer screen as it is about 24" away and almost 90 degrees from where I am looking (where I am going). Is there actually a law that prohibits this? If there is, how could this be any different than having a newspaper or a book in the hands of the passenger that would be "in view" of the driver? I was not given a ticket for this so I think maybe he was a bit confused.


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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 6:24 pm 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
correct it is an offence....
HTA 78(1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to the driver

Visible = anything forward of the back of the driver's seat.

This is why all vans DVD system screens in the ceiling are placed at that point

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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 4:56 pm 
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This situation reminds me of an incident a couple of years ago...

19-year-old driver pulled over by police for smoking with an individual less than 18 years of age in car. During traffic stop, 16-year-old occupant (driver's sister) gets out and starts smoking a cigarette. Officer hands driver a ticket... as the 16-year-old continues to smoke the cigarette.

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:43 pm 
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Wouldn't that make GPS receivers illegal? Most of the consumer-level receivers are really computers, running Windows, with capabilities of accessing music libraries, movie playback, even editing text. How does that make it different than a laptop, a tablet or an e-book reader in the passenger's lap? Hell, I've had people drive me while I was testing some mapping software on my laptop, while I was sitting in the front seat.

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 3:29 pm 
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What if the passenger is doing something on a smart phone that has a big screen? Iphone, Ipad etc...

Would that be a ticket too?

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:39 pm 
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The question is: Can the officer prove which way the screen was facing? Because if it was facing directly towards the passenger or turned more counter clockwise I would argue that the view angle on the computer is less that the angle at which the driver could actually see anything on the screen and thus does not meet the definition of "visible". You should see if you can get the angle measurement from the computer manufacturers website.


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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Location: In YOUR rearview mirror!
let's cut to the point - the intent of the law is to prevent a driver distraction, whether it is on a lap, facing the driver or 90 degrees. Simply...to prevent being stopped, have the person sit in the back seat or turn it off.

for kicks...I just took my laptop and put it on the front seat, with screen facing the seat, I can still see the screen although minimal. I then turned it towards the passenger door, to which it then a reflected onto the window and could see it very easy.

If a JP buys a lame BS excuse that the driver can not see it, and the passenger can not "move" it, and the "person" can not "alt tab" to turn off the movie, etc....so be it.

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Last edited by hwybear on Sat May 08, 2010 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 11:32 pm 
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Quote:
What if the passenger is doing something on a smart phone that has a big screen? Iphone, Ipad etc...

Would that be a ticket too?


78.1 (1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held wireless communication device or other prescribed device that is capable of receiving or transmitting telephone communications, electronic data, mail or text messages. 2009, c. 4, s. 2.

Entertainment devices

(2) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway while holding or using a hand-held electronic entertainment device or other prescribed device the primary use of which is unrelated to the safe operation of the motor vehicle. 2009, c. 4, s. 2

Can't even touch your i phone anymore.

And yes, GPS's are exceptions in the act.


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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 11:39 am 
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hwybear wrote:
HTA 78(1) No person shall drive a motor vehicle on a highway if the display screen of a television, computer or other device in the motor vehicle is visible to the driver


I read this as: if my passenger is using their mp3 player in the front seat, I can get a ticket if I can just SEE their screen. It doesn't even say the screen needs to be on. I never realized blank screens were so distracting to the driver :wink:

Here's an example: I was travelling with a friend of my dad's from Ottawa to Toronto last weekend and received a text message while in the front passenger seat during the ride. I read the message without a second thought. Should I actually have asked him to pull over so I could read the message? Does this seem a little extreme to you?

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with the whole purpose of the distracted driving laws and think that distracted driving is a definite hazard on the road. But give me a break. I really don't think many people become any more of a hazard on the road if their front passenger is reading a text message or changing a song on their mp3 player. If I'm correct in my interpretation, I somewhat take offense to the fact that the Ontario government is passing laws that assume everyone has a severe case of ADD.

However, I'm not 100% confident in my interpretation of this law. So for my own clarification I have a couple of scenarios and I'd like to see what somebody else's take on them are:

    1. If I have my mp3 player plugged into my car's stereo by the AUX port can I change songs on the mp3 player while driving?

    2. Does the answer change if it is plugged into my tape deck by an adapter?

    3. If I am using an FM transmitter?

    4. If I'm using an iPod touch rather than an iPod nano because the iPod touch has wifi capability (even though while driving it isn't usable)?

    5. What if I'm using an iPod shuffle (no screen at all)?

    6. What if I'm using my mp3 player with headphones rather than plugged into the car's stereo?

    7. Finally, what if I'm driving my younger brother to University for his final exam period and he wants to study his notes during the ride. If his notes are on his laptop during the trip does he have to be in the back seat? I sure don't have any interest in his course on 17th century European history so I sure won't be tempted to read whatever is on his laptop screen.

I have a feeling that different officers will have different responses to the items on this list which really shouldn't be the case.

I hope officers are using their judgment when enforcing this law and only targetting blatent offenders. I also honestly don't think that because text is displayed on a digital screen it becomes oh so much more distracting than a hard copy.

I understand that my interpretation of the law probably has some flaws, so I would really appreciate if somebody were to shed some light on the 7 scenarios I gave just so I can try to better understand what can get me in trouble and what might go one way or the other depending on the officer.

I'd just like to add that I only took a few minutes to think up these scenarios (all of which I've encountered before) and I feel like I have at least come up with one scenario where the law has potential to be enforced where it wasn't intended to be. In my mind this means they should have taken more time to write this law properly before putting it on the books.






On a slightly related side note when I opened up the HTA to try and look up any subsections or exclusions for section 78, a couple of things caught my eye which I thought were somewhat funny laws that are in the HTA.

Quote:
Sleigh bells
77. (1) Every person travelling on a highway with a sleigh or sled drawn by a horse or other animal shall have at least two bells attached to the harness or to the sleigh or sled in such a manner as to give ample warning sound. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 77 (1).
Penalty
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $5. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 77 (2).


I wonder how often that one gets laid and if the crown would even bother to read your disclosure request :lol: Yes I understand the purpose of the law but come on a $5 fine. How much money would have been spent to get this law on the books or even enforced :roll:

Quote:
Horse racing on highway
173. No person shall race or drive furiously any horse or other animal on a highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 173.


:shock: I wonder if my horse gets impounded for 7 days...will they feed him for me?


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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 2:29 pm 
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Ha, you think it's ridiculous now?

What happens when our pocket devices are used for medical reasons?
http://www.ted.com/talks/eric_topol_the ... icine.html

Imagine this. Two years down the road someone gets pulled over for holding their brand new I-pod while driving. Officer writes the person a ticket and ignores their "excuses" having heard them all and assuming they were texting.

However this person wasn't texting, but instead, was checking their blood glucose levels on their phone because they were feeling a little off while driving.

So, in the long run this person is charged for doing something that may have ended up preventing a pile up on the highway.

But hey, the law is the law.


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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 3:55 pm 
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As with most laws, it comes down to discretion. Any law can become absurd if taken to extreme.

Consider assault for example. It is defined as "any unwanted physical contact". This means that if somebody is pushing past me on the subway to get off at their stop and I didn't "want" to be touched they could be guilty of assault. The actus reus is there, as is the mens rea since they intended (or knew) that they would touch me as they squeezed by.

Police could go around arresting everybody for this but they don't because they use discretion. I think we just have to hope that they will with this law as well.


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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 3:57 pm 
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ManlyMinute wrote:
,However this person wasn't texting, but instead, was checking their blood glucose levels on their phone because they were feeling a little off while driving.

So, in the long run this person is charged for doing something that may have ended up preventing a pile up on the highway..


yeah...nothing like signalling and pulling onto the shoulder and stopping to do the test .... cuz if someone is going downhill we certainly want them to continue driving :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Quote:
yeah...nothing like signalling and pulling onto the shoulder and stopping to do the test

Never heard of an insulin pump or a chocolate bar I see.

What I was trying to get at was people very soon will be able to just look at their smart phones and know what their levels are instantly via wireless sensor or sub-dermal needle.

Diabetes is only one case where this would probably be better than pulling over on a busy highway to do a test.


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