back to article Safety wonks condemn digital TV satnav

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has hit out at Mio’s latest satnavs, which allow drivers to catch some TV while driving. mio_spirit_TV_satnav Mio's TV satnav: RoSPA not pleased Mio’s 4.7in and 7in Spirit satnavs can pick up DVB-T signals, but only display a warning when TV mode is enabled, not …


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  1. Jeremy 2

    Yay! New icon usage

    I mean, really, what a f***ing stupid idea...

  2. Adrian Esdaile

    Logic. Got any?

    Yep, watching TV while driving is bad, m'kay?

    And a moving-image GPS is different in what exact way?

    I've had to dodge plenty of drivers who seem to drive by watching the little screen instead of the big scary road in front of them - and taxi drivers who fiddle with the GPS incessantly.

    Oh, by the way, LOVE the new icons, I'll pick FAIL for 10 points, please!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    New devices, but no new maps.

    They have time to make a Satnav that can receive TV shows. but can't be bothered to provide map updates for older devices? Thanks a bunch Mio!! No wonder you have trouble maintaining market share.

  4. Martin Usher
    Thumb Down

    Waste of time, really...

    Having a TV display where the driver can see it is illegal.

    Another of those useless "we can do this because its technically feasible regardless of how useful it is" features.

  5. James O'Brien
    Big Brother

    OH COMMON!!!

    Seriously now. If those idiots who watch TV while driving not only do they deserve to be arrested but they need more then just a slap on the wrist. Mandatory license revocation should be their punishment. These idiots who follow a GPS unit damn near off a cliff, those that kill someone while using the GPS/TV need to have more incentive TO LEARN. Idiots.

  6. Brett Brennan 1

    Sell it in the States

    Due to budget cuts, we don't enforce ANY distraction laws these day, especially cell phone use, texting and TV watching. Any day on the freeway shows this laxity...

  7. Chris C

    Don't distract the driver?

    “the system should not be designed to distract or visually entertain the driver”

    Am I the only one who thinks that the very notion of satnav IS to distract the driver? If you know where you're going, you don't need satnav. Ergo, those using satnav will be distracted because they will be taking their eyes off of the road to look at the device. Additionally, the audio prompts (such as when you miss a turn) are specifically made to distract you so that you don't stray too far off-course. I'm not making a judgment on whether satnav is good or bad, but let's not pretend that it's not designed explicitly to distract the driver. It may be less of a distraction than the driver (or passenger) using a map, but it's still a distraction.

    That said, enabling the watching of television on an in-auto satnav device is both reckless and dangerous. What's next, a built-in DVD player? A built-in Xbox or PS3? How about video conferencing (powered by Cisco, of course)?

    Driving (at least in the US) is already dangerous enough will so many idiots using their mobile phones while driving (sans hands-free kit, of course). When you're in control of a 3/4+ ton death machine, it might be a good idea to actually pay attention to your surroundings instead of listening to your mate tell you about a woman he met last night or trying to make a sales pitch (because you "just don't have the time" except when you're driving). It makes you wonder how all of these people got by before the days of mobile phones, in-auto entertainment systems, etc.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Watching TV

    While driving a car is both illegal - driving without due care & attention would be the first offence when caught - and stupid, but so is receiving fellatio. A minority will always indulge in unsafe & illegal practises out of perversity or worse. The Darwin Awards is testament. RoSPA is right to draw attention to this as a problem but is it really that important or just another promotional opportunity for either RoSPA or the vendor. The latter, I fear.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title is required

    "But Duncan Vernon, Road Safety Manager at RoSPA, today told Register Hardware that “the danger is there that a minority [of people] will use the satnav in TV mode while driving” which would encourage them to take their eyes off the road."

    Why shouldn't passengers use the satnav for tv if it's not needed for navigation? Why can't I watch it on the train or bus after the park and ride?

    STFU nanny.

  10. jake Silver badge

    TV? Pah ... that's for pikers.

    "But Duncan Vernon, Road Safety Manager at RoSPA, today told Register Hardware that “the danger is there that a minority [of people] will use the satnav in TV mode while driving” which would encourage them to take their eyes off the road."

    Shit, that's nothing.

    This very afternoon, I saw a guy talking on a cell phone (not hands free), reading a computer monitor, typing on its keyboard (one handed, the other had the phone, he was steering with his knee), and driving at about 75MPH on Hwy101 between Petaluma & Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, CA. I saw paper being printed.

    I'd have called the cops, but said mobile office worker was a California Highway Patrol officer. The mind absolutely boggles. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me for the first time in years ... This is the only time I have ever wished I had a camera built into my cell phone.

    Then there's the the gal I used to see on a regular basis on the North bound 101 on-ramp from East bound San Antonio in Palo Alto ... Almost every morning, she'd be drinking coffee, eating a bagel, reading the WSJ, putting on her makeup, and cranking KOME ... About 15 years ago, when I was running a trifle late I watched a tow service winching her car out of Adobe Creek.

    When you are driving, drive. It's kind of important.

  11. Andrew Bush

    Dead man's switch

    Presumably, the the facility to receive TV signals on the move has been designed in for the benefit of passengers who might use the device in the rear seats of a car when the satnav is not required, making it a dual function device and increasing the market appeal.

    The inclusion of a 'dead man's switch' might have been sensible so that TV signals could only be viewed in motion whilst holding the device in both hands? Mounting the unit in the cradle might also activate a secondary switch to deactivate the TV facility whilst in motion.

  12. Alexander Holland


    It would only take 2 minutes for the softies to put in a lockout. It is a GPS so can tell if the vehicle is in motion. If it is, block the TV functionality.

  13. David Edwards
    Thumb Down

    iPhone with Tom Tom

    So I can watch podcats on my iphone and it also does SatNav Duties. Just because something CAN do somthnging, does not mean it HAS to do it or WILL do it.

    its quite possible that you could have the TV on for the kids in the back becuase, shock horror, you dont actually need sat nav on every time you drive, only when you are going somewhere you dont know.

  14. Eponymous Cowherd

    Probably won't work anyway

    Given the current shite DVB-T coverage in the UK. In most cases you need a zonking great aerial and much fiddling to get it aligned.

    With a portable unit, at best, a little 'twig' on the car roof and as you drive between buildings and hills and under trees its going to be almost useless.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    what a load of crap

    In japan we have had TVs (and DVD players) in satnavs for years - Britain is so far behind the times its embarrassing

    Why do we have them - cos we know to watch the road when driving... we are not stupid.

    Come and join us in the 21st century you rednecks

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Errr...Am I missing something here?

    Who says that the function is for the driver? What's the problem of letting the passengers watch a bit of TV instead of listening to what ever god awful music the driver likes?

    The don't have a problem with hand held TVs being in cars, or laptops with tv tuners so there is no justification for not allowing this. If they want to ban this then they should ban kids from being in cars as well. They cause a much greater distraction than any electronic device does.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sure they could power the GPS receiver part, detect the motion then disable the TV... stopping it being used by passengers or on buses.... but hey, better safe than sorry!

    But you know what, I am sick of the sticker in the mirror that tells me objects may be nearer than they appear, I am sick of the ping ping ping to tell me I have the seat belts off. I am sick of the locks on my car locking themselves whenever the car is in motion to prevent me accidentally opening my door while in motion and falling out.

    When did I become I mental cripple who couldn't be trusted? And why should I buy products that treat me like a mental cripple?

  18. The BigYin

    The problem is...

    ...that a large portion of people are unfit to be on the roads in the UK. How the hell they ever passed their tests is a mystery to me.

    1) Running red lights

    2) Lane hogging

    3) Tail-gating

    4) Proceeding on amber (even green does not mean "go")

    5) Blocking junctions

    6) Changing lanes without looking or indicating

    7) Using a mobile whilst driving

    8) Speeding in urban areas

    The list goes on (and these 8 are what I see on my rather short commute - not a cop in sight).

    The morons that do the above are the same morons who would probably want to catch up on Easties whilst bombing down the M6. That not the fault of the sat nav, that's the fault of the government for destroying traffic policing, lowering driving standards (the latest figures (not the ones from 2005 some idiot commentard tried to rebut with a while back) show our roads are more dangerous than Spain's these days, and that's not a good place to be) and a complete obsession with speeding as if it was the only ill on the roads. Oh, I forgot to mention the lack on investment in roads repairs and the destruction of our (admittedly pathetic) rail system that simply forces more morons on to the roads.

    It's time the bad drivers in the UK were simply removed from the roads and then jailed if caught again. Mandatory eye-tests, highway code and road re-tests, stepped licenses (a bit like they have for motorcycles), skid control, a higher pass standard required etc.

    I realise that I may be one of the one who would lose their license, but if my skills are not up to scratch, then why do they let me on the road? Oh yeah - our MPs are too busy fiddling their expenses to give one shit about this country.

  19. jake Silver badge

    @Alexander Holland

    "It would only take 2 minutes for the softies to put in a lockout."

    And another 25 seconds for me to subvert it.

    Surely it would be better to teach people to drive?

    (The only interactive non-maneuvering related controls in any of my vehicles is the radio ... and even then, I only listen to baseball games and have a button on the dash that provides a 110-second mute during commercials ...)

    No icon. Icons are for AOLers.

  20. Jacob Reid

    The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents?

    More like the The Nanny State Society for Pointless Nagging and Interfering.

  21. Rob 115
    Thumb Up

    What about passengers?

    What if a passenger wants to watch the tv?

    Drivers should have more common sense than to watch the tv whilst moving. Common sense should be part of the driving test

  22. Matt 21


    Don't a lot of modern ICE systems have DVD players?

  23. Anonymous Coward


    .....Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents!!! You got to be f@#k'in kidding me!

    Surely this whole 'society' can be summed up with one motto.


    If people cant do this, well then we're just improving the gene pool.. has anybody seen the film Idiocracy?

    *\. Lets go play with Hand-Grenades.

  24. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    Somebody needs to tell the safety morons that it's bloody obvious that watching TV while driving is a bloody stupid idea. However stopping somebody building TV capabilities into a sat nav won't stop people watching TV or other video content while driving.

    I've seen people watch video on their phones and PDAs while driving. I've even (very rarely) seen people watching poratable DVDs while driving. These idiots will watch TV, use their phones and do all sorts of other moronic things while driving. Banning the Mio thingy won't stop them.

    If we're going to be sensible about this sat nav is pretty bloody dangerous in the wrong hands anyway. You shouldn't look at the screen unless it is safe to do so, like it says about virtually everything in the RTA. However people not only look at the screen while manoevring through heavy traffic, but fiddle with the controls on there as well. It's all about priorities. Too many people's priorities are 1. Phone 2. Sat Nav 3. Radio 4. Driving.

    The trouble is that few people are so stupid as to admit that using their satnav was the cause of the accident they just had, so officialdom isn't aware of the number of accidents where satnav was a contributory factor. If it isn't a box ticked on a form then it didn't happen as far as the civil service are concerned. So they will go on blaming speed for every accident* when the real cause of most accidents is that at least one driver was not paying proper attention.

    * Actually they're right. If nobody was moving then there would be no accidents.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    of course, y

    you could put the thing in tv mode for you kids, or passengers...

    And bigger previews of the new yukky icons would be nice

  26. Anonymous Coward


    "He added that although legislation specifically covering driving while watching TV is sketchy"

    - So what?

    "Police can pull over or arrest telly-watching drivers under careless driving laws"

    - Exactly... No need for another piece of pointless legislation that simply overcomplicates the matter.

    This kind of arse spends his entire life desperately fidning things to justify his own sad existence... Go. Away.

  27. Hedley Phillips

    Nearly got wiped out this morning

    Having very nearly ended up in a head on collision with a 4x4 driver who was on my side of the road as she fiddled with and sent a text message, I do hope these are not sold. There are far too many idiots on the road already who think they have something far too important to say that it can't wait until they get home. Selling a pratnav with a tv is just asking for trouble.

  28. Stephen Gazard

    I know it's a bad idea, but...

    everyone assumes that it's to be used by the person driving the car. I can imagine a parent/friend taking one along on the drive while being in the back. Motorway driving gets boring and you help alleviate the boredom to kids by giving them a mobile TV.

    The downside? you have to keep under 60mph. But then you could take the A-roads or others and have a bit more fun while having the kids entertained too.

    Now, if it could act as a mobile PVR so that you can watch TV in a rest stop, that would be impressive, if overkill

  29. Anonymous Coward


    Down here in Spain at the border with Gibraltar, we get thousands of tourists coming thru, and I know from experience sitting in the border queue myself how many International tourists are fiddling with satnavs.

    The road scheme up to the border is complicated enough (and the Spanish seem unwilling for some reason to simplify it!), and SatNav's just don't help. I've had my TomTom on to listen to what it's telling me to compare with the actual road design and it's DEEPLY scary. It certainly explained for me the number of accidents. People listening to SatNav rather than putting a little effort in reading the road signs explaining filter lanes and so on.

    Now with added DVB-T I can imagine things getting worse. Through the summer months the border queue can take up to 90 mins to get in and out, so I can see how telly on board might be a lovely thing. However I can also see the epic disaster it might well be.

    I've got to rank this a complete 'Fail' and would invite the designers down here to try their great little toy in the real World.

    A better use of their time would have been putting properly documented roads in, and a facility to deliver electric shocks when the driver does something epically stupid. In fact, if someone designed a system like that, could they also please apply it to the shopping trolleys in Morrisons? :)

  30. tony72


    Now our phones mostly have GPS, I can watch TV on my satnav, use the GPS on my phone to find out where I'm going, and occasionally cast a glance at the road to see if anything is in the way. Of course, using the phone as a satnav makes it harder to send emails while driving, seems like there's just never enough devices around, no matter what you do.

  31. Danny van der Weide

    RoSPA = Toad

    I'd like to inform everybody that the word 'ROSPA' in Italian indicates a female toad.

    Just to let you know where the whining is coming from...

  32. tomjol

    @The BigYin

    Totally agree. Having spent longer than usual prowling the motorways of the North recently, the sheer level of ignorance when it comes to good driving practice is astonishing. Admittedly, motorways aren't in the driving test, neither can learners visit them, but this needs to change - so many people don't seem to understand basic concepts such as moving over when they're doing 65 in the outside lane and everyone behind them would otherwise be doing 80. The same goes for traffic flow - the number of people who just pull out into a faster lane and make no attempt to speed up is enormous.

  33. Oz

    @Softies By Anonymous Coward

    "I am sick of the locks on my car locking themselves whenever the car is in motion to prevent me accidentally opening my door while in motion and falling out."

    The auto-locking is not to stop you falling out - it's to stop you getting car-jacked, or your stuff being nicked off the back seat at traffic lights.

    (P.S. Loving the new icons!)

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Note to the dickheads.....

    who think it should be left up to the driver to decide what's safe.

    I wonder if you will reconsider that opinion in the last milliseconds of your miserable lives as you notice the mobile phone in the hands of the truck driver who is about to kill you.

  35. MnM
    Thumb Down

    Driving game

    satnavs are great for blind bends, like the ones you get in the country or in mountains. Pre-satnav, if you're going a leetil too queekly and the bend tightens, it can get a bit sketchy, but with a satnav, you have an idea of what's coming up and how fast you can go. I'm not the kind of nutter who'd watch Dr Who during a hill climb though. TVs in cars are prob great for kids, but I'm happy with an interactive map.

    Ultimately, though, it's a thumbs down. Sticking stuff to the windscreen is naff, as are most built in satnavs. I want a decent factory fitted touch screen, with or without tv/movie playing tutt, and a choice of software. Then... then you could have a Rally Navigator add-in to describe the next turn: 'long medium right...'

  36. esterill

    I am so getting one of these

    for my Motorbike!

  37. serviceWithASmile

    a title is still required. damn.

    My sole reason for comment is the awesome new icons.

    thanks reg, what are we getting for christmas?

    I would like to use more than 1 icon at a time because the phrase "WTF!?FAIL" is something I find myself typing fairly often, and occasionally saying out loud.

    or maybe just a new icon that is the illegitimate lovechildspawn of WTF? and FAIL, with a grenade or air to air missile in the background for added emphasis.

    oh and btw, I agree that most drivers probably aren't able to safely decide what is good for them to do or not do whilst driving, but the government is even less able, by a factor of 10. We should look to such films as 1980, Equilibrium et al for inspiration on future legislation and law enforcement, as those films seem more like documentaries now than entertainment.

  38. Matthew Brown


    How is this different from any number of exec and luxury cars that have TV reception built into their in-car entertainment centres in the factory?

  39. Eddie Johnson

    A Reader Generated Comment Pertaining to the Issuance of Advice Regarding ...

    A Reader Generated Comment Pertaining to the Issuance of Advice Regarding the Need to Seek Further Information on the Aforementioned Subject Matter

    "Vernon recommended that the firm read the European Statement of Principles on Human Machine Interface for In-Vehicle Information and Communication Systems report."

    Umm, no, sorry. After reading just the title I've used up my monthly reading allowance. I imagine the first sentence of the report is 3 pages long and utterly incomprehensible.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    TV in a SatNav.....

    Wouldn't be any good for me while I drive. My guide dog thinks most TV is too low-brow for him......

  41. The BigYin


    "with a satnav, you have an idea of what's coming up and how fast you can go"

    Wow, that's some sat nav you have. I never knew they could see mud, sheep, tractors or other obstacles on the road. There's me using eyeball mark-one and looking our for field entrances, telephone wires, trees, lakes* etc. What a Luddite I am! Gosh, there was me thinking that *I* was responsible for observing the road ahead and adjusting to the conditions, but I really should have been relying on the little box on the dashboard.

    Your attitude typifies the problem with drivers in the UK. "Oh, the little gadget said it was fine" as you bounce down a greenlane in your BMW, then need to get rescued by an bemused farmer.

    "Always be able to stop in the distance you can see". If you didn't know that, then you need remedial training.

    *If you don't know why those items might be of importance when driving...then I despair.

  42. glenn 3

    Sweet lordy.........

    All of the comments jibbering about the evils of sat nav are bloody rediculous. Yes, if you follow it off a cliff or into a river you deserve to be publically humiliated for your lack of sense, but for the rest of the population who display even the most basic notion of possesing a degree of common sense, sat nav is undeniably a huge step forward from battling to read and navigate from paper maps, sometimes while trying to drive (you know who you are maptards!), other times stopping in dangerous or obstructive places on the road to get their bearings again having missed the turn that they needed. Sat nav would just re-route in a few seconds.

    Anyone who is under the impression that (most) drivers with sat nav are fixated by watching the pretty moving pictures while on the go is a numpty, (a minority may do - but they are the type who drive off cliffs) The audible instructions from sat nav are no more distracting than having a passenger giving directions, and are a lot more accurate and faster to re-route than a passenger with dubious map reading skillz.

    I fail to see how the addition of a TV tuner turns a sat nav into a lethal weapon, as some seem to be implying. In-dash tv's and DVD players have been around for years, so why is this device any different, or any more likely to make a driver think that they have the ability to drive without watching where they are going.

    @the bigyin

    You must be one hell of a driver if you know every single road so well that being given prior notification of the layout of the road ahead (beyond your line of sight, and not including obstacles like other traffic and animals) is of no use.

    I applaud your super-human brain power!!!

    For the mere mortals among us , when driving on unfamiliar roads I would have thought that anything which aids a driver to make a better judgement of the road ahead, well in advance, would be an advantage.

    As for "Always be able to stop in the distance you can see" fair comment. But what do you do when confronted by very sharp blind corners or blind summits? Proceed with absolute caution would be the sensible thing to do, but wouldn't it be clever if there was some kind of device, a tool of the devil, that could indicate in advance the shape and layout of the road beyond your line of sight? Then at least you would have one less thing to worry about, and could focus more on road conditions and hazards on the carriageway.

  43. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

    Someone should have done their research

    >> He added that although legislation specifically covering driving while watching TV is sketchy

    Err, no they aren't. It is illegal to have a TV situated so that the driver has access to any controls other than volume and power or so that the driver can see the screen. Therefore, installing this device in a car so that the driver can see the screen or adjust anything other than volume (or switch it on and off) is illegal. So in what was is that "sketchy" ?

    And in response to the suggestion that ROSPA is the society for saying "use some commonsense", well you're right, but it seems a lot of people missed out when it was being handed round.

  44. The First Dave

    The BigYin

    I think you are forgetting that since the previous poster had stuck his sat-nav in the middle of his windscreen (they all do) he wasn't actually able to use his eyes the way that you or I do.

    Anyone who does try to watch TV while driving isn't going to last very long, so I'm not going to worry about it too much, but perhaps we could have a new insurance company for people who don't use such distractions? Think how much lower the premiums would be.

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