Turn off baseball game while drivingDrivers who watch mobile televisions, or even smartphone videos, while on the road will be liable to fines, according to the revised Road Traffic Act that went into effect yesterday.
The fines vary according to the type of vehicle: 70,000 won ($65) for vans, 60,000 won for cars, 40,000 won for two-wheeled vehicles and 30,000 for bicycles.
People who violate the regulations will also be given 15 penalty points on their licenses. Forty or more points are grounds for suspension of a driver’s license, and 121 or more are grounds for cancellation.
The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said it will advise people to follow the regulations until April 30 and conduct intensive enforcement for three months starting in May.
Q. Which devices are included in the prohibited equipment?
A. Digital multimedia broadcasting [DMB] devices are included, but also all kinds of devices that can play video clips or show images such as smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.
Are videos the only prohibited content?
No. All images including still photos, illustrations and comics are subject to the regulation.
What about navigation devices?
Looking at navigation equipment, including navigation via smartphone, is not a violation. Devices that announce national emergencies or disasters, or ones that aid drivers by displaying side or rear views, are also not subject to the regulation.
However, manipulating those devices when the vehicle is in motion, such as punching in a destination, is against the law.
What are the regulations for passengers?
Passengers cannot view image devices that the driver can see. But passengers in the back seat may still use their smartphones and DMB.
Is the regulation in effect when the vehicle is not moving?
No. Parked vehicles or ones waiting for traffic lights are not subject to the regulation.
Watching image devices was previously regarded as illegal, but violators were only warned and not fined.
“Watching DMB while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving,” said the police in leaflets distributed yesterday.
BY CHAE SEUNG-GI AND KIM BONG-MOON [email@example.com]