Traffic Tip: Use of video equipment, television receivers in vehicles
By David Brogger
Nov. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.
This week's traffic tip is in regards to the Texas Transportation Code 547.611, Use of Certain Video Equipment and Television Receivers.
Sec. 547.611. Use of certain video equipment and television receivers. (a) A motor vehicle may be equipped with video receiving equipment, including a television, a digital video disc player, a videocassette player, or similar equipment, only if the equipment is located so that the video display is not visible from the operator's seat unless the vehicle's transmission is in park or the vehicle's parking brake is applied.
(b) A motor vehicle specially designed as a mobile unit used by a licensed television station may have video receiving equipment located so that the video display is visible from the operator's side, but the receiver may be used only when the vehicle is stopped.
(c) This section does not prohibit the use of:
(1) equipment used:
(A) exclusively for receiving digital information for commercial purposes;
(B) exclusively for a safety or law enforcement purpose, if each installation is approved by the department;
(C) in a remote television transmission truck; or
(D) exclusively for monitoring the performance of equipment installed on a vehicle used for safety purposes in connection with the operations of a natural gas, water, or electric utility; or
(2) a monitoring device that:
(A) produces an electronic display; and
(B) is used exclusively in conjunction with a mobile navigation system installed in the vehicle.
Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 30.117(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 20, Sec. 1, 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 942, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007.
Why this specific code, and how does it relate to driving in Victoria?
There are many technological advances in automobile entertainment these days with DVD players, video games, navigation, etc. The automobile manufacturers usually put safety features in place to prevent these items from being used by the driver while the vehicle is in motion. Unfortunately, there are aftermarket electronics which can be installed by anyone tech-savvy, and these items sometimes lack the necessary or legal safety features.
I've witnessed and cited numerous vehicles at stop lights and on the road with video monitors in the dashboard with the driver actually watching the videos. This is extremely unsafe to do. Furthermore, it is illegal. The last thing a person needs is one more distraction in their vehicle while driving.
The Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit invites citizens to inform us of any traffic issues that you observe. The easiest way to do this is go to our website, victoriapd.com, then go to the VPD Customer Service Request tab in the center of the page and follow the directions.
If you have a traffic law question, contact Senior Police Officer David Brogger, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.