GPS doesn’t solve common-sense confusion

UPI has plagiarized referenced a Gazette cover story about Quebec’s law against screens in the driver’s seat. As if it’s bad enough that they can’t do any reporting on their own, they seem to misunderstand the very story they’re copying. The headline is “Canadian province turns OnStar off”, which doesn’t make any sense. Quebec hasn’t passed a law against OnStar, it’s an existing law which GPS systems may prompt an amendment to.

For those curious, the applicable section is article 439 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code:

439. No person may drive a road vehicle in which a television set or a display screen is so placed that the image broadcast on the screen is directly or indirectly visible to the driver, except in the case of a closed circuit system used by the driver to operate the vehicle, or a system used by a peace officer or the driver of a road vehicle used as an ambulance, in accordance with the Act respecting pre-hospital emergency services (chapter S-6.2), in the performance of their duties.

The intent of the law is very clear: No TV sets visible to the driver. It’s a common-sense safety law that is hardly “idiotic”. But it is in need of updating, considering an apparent study that suggests drivers consulting navigation systems are less distracted because they have a better idea of where they’re going.

Considering they’ve already given a free pass to emergency vehicles, it’s a common-sense amendment to a common-sense law.

But please, let’s make a big deal out of it.

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