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Thread: UK Legality of Car PCs

  1. #1
    See me in my wet t-shirt. stevieg's Avatar
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    Post UK Legality of Car PCs

    I don't know about anyone else but I have wanted to double check the legality of Car PC equipment in the UK for some time.

    I have managed to get some answers from some friendly police:

    Car Regulations:

    Right, I've had a look at the Motor Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, which has the following to say:

    Regulation 109: Television Sets

    (1) No person shall drive, or cause or permit to be driven, a motor vehicle on a road, if the driver is in such a position as to be able to see, whether directly or by reflection, a television receiving apparatus or other cinematographic apparatus used to display anything other than information--
    (a) about the state of the vehicle or its equipment;
    (b) about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located;
    (c) to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle; or
    (d) to assist the driver to reach his destination.
    (2) In this regulation "television receiving apparatus" means any cathode ray tube carried on a vehicle and on which there can be displayed an image derived from a television broadcast, a recording or a camera or computer.

    So, TVs etc are a no-no if they can be seen by the driver whilst the vehicle is being driven. Sat nav systems and the like are exempt.

    However, this needs to be read in conjunction with the following:


    Regulation 104: Driver's Control

    No person shall drive or cause or permit any other person to drive, a motor vehicle on a road if he is in such a position that he cannot have proper control of the vehicle or have a full view of the road and traffic ahead.

    So, the driver still needs to ensure that he or she is in proper control of the vehicle even when operating exempt equipment.
    And for the kind of circumstances you could expect to be pulled:
    To be honest, unless you're watching TV or fiddling with your sat nav I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. Keep your attention focussed on the road and there won't be any reason to pull you will there?
    Most of the above is pretty obvious, and of course many of us have been driving around with these systems for years without any trouble and unwittingly complying with these regulations - So the good news is there are no revelations.

    I've got my own opinion on what this means. However read above and make up your own mind I could be wrong
    * The 'cathode ray tube / CRT' bit might throw you off into thinking anything goes on a TFT. I wouldn't risk it personally, unless there is a test case proving one way or the other, plus the regs could have been updated at any time since the copy the police person had.
    * information... about the state of the vehicle or its equipment - means to me that track information, OBDII data, any information about something fitted to the car (including car pc temperature etc) is OK showing while moving
    * information... about the location of the vehicle and the road on which it is located.. and... to assist the driver to reach his destination - means traffic information, sat nav maps, name of the road showing, speed camera/blackspot popups is all OK, including the new photo mapping baggers is developing as it's simply information.
    * information... to assist the driver to see the road adjacent to the vehicle - means that reverse cameras and possibly front bumper cams are probably OK showing, so long as your not watching them instead of the road. I would think this is could be a 'grey area' though as it might simply translate to a visual parking distance sensor being allowed.
    * Reg 104 (won't repeat) I would take as meaning a HUD could be illegal however little of the 'full view' it obscures - and anything noticably flashing on your TFT I would suspect.
    * TV/video/DVD buttons in the front-end skin are OK so long as you don't use them while driving. If you can disable them via the handbrake switch all the easier to prove you don't use it while driving is all the better.
    * Anything not included above is a no-no.

    Once again this is just my view, so don't take my word for anything. If any of the information in this post is wrong, do not blame me or who provided the information to me - check facts for yourself and any grey areas with a lawyer if you need clarification.

    Hope this helps. Thanks to the guys who provided this information, if you are reading this you know who you are.
    Ford Focus MP3 : www.stevieg.org/carpc Blog Updated 29 January 2009!
    Car PC Status: Complete - Undergoing Software Redevelopment

  2. #2
    Raw Wave
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    Thats for that Steve, worth knowing and reading

  3. #3
    Confusion Master
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    I think 104 is the main crux. Basically it's a get all if they want to do you for it.

  4. #4
    Raw Wave
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    This is where an input on the system would be good linked to a button in the door frame or near the steering would be good to allow the screen to be switched off or go to another screen.

  5. #5
    See me in my wet t-shirt. stevieg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UK_MP3Car
    This is where an input on the system would be good linked to a button in the door frame or near the steering would be good to allow the screen to be switched off or go to another screen.
    As I'm rebuilding my system I thought it would be a good chance to make sure it was totally legit - hence why I found out (just in case there was a legal requirement if it diaplys DVD etc to have it linked to the handbrake etc...)

    I was thinking of having it go to black screen (screensaver) when the car moves off, with either a press of the 'function' button on my steering wheel, or a tap of the touchscreen bringing the main interface on when I need it.
    Ford Focus MP3 : www.stevieg.org/carpc Blog Updated 29 January 2009!
    Car PC Status: Complete - Undergoing Software Redevelopment

  6. #6
    Raw Wave
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    The util I did, screenoff does this, downloadable in the software section or I can supply the source if you want it.

  7. #7
    See me in my wet t-shirt. stevieg's Avatar
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    The law on screens in the UK.

    Above info posted by copper.
    Ford Focus MP3 : www.stevieg.org/carpc Blog Updated 29 January 2009!
    Car PC Status: Complete - Undergoing Software Redevelopment

  8. #8
    gvs
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    In this regulation "television receiving apparatus" means any cathode ray tube
    We do not use CRT, we use TFT

  9. #9
    See me in my wet t-shirt. stevieg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvs
    In this regulation "television receiving apparatus" means any cathode ray tube
    We do not use CRT, we use TFT
    OK, well if you are feeling brave, drive slowly past some traffic police with a DVD playing in the driver's view off the TFT...

    If they say it's illegal argue it out in court and let us here how you get on
    Ford Focus MP3 : www.stevieg.org/carpc Blog Updated 29 January 2009!
    Car PC Status: Complete - Undergoing Software Redevelopment

  10. #10
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    including the new photo mapping baggers is developing
    Is this the new app that Frodo has been working on....?!
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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