Killer crash prompts car TV ban

2012-06-08 09:35

SEOUL, South Korea - Drivers caught watching TV while driving will be fined in South Korea, an official said following a deadly crash blamed on an inattentive trucker.

The current law in South Korea bans drivers from watching videos while driving, but there is no specific penalty. They can, however, be punished if their inattention causes an accident.

Offenders in future will face fines of up to the equivalent of R500, said Lee Weong-Woo, a director at the public administration and security ministry


"It depends on how quickly the National Assembly passes the law," he added, "but we hope to enforce it early in 2013 after a campaign to enhance public awareness of the new regulation."

Three professional cyclists were killed and four other riders were badly hurt in a road collision caused by a trucker watching TV in the south-eastern county of Euiseong on May 1. The trucker admitted he was watching TV at the time but was arrested for dangerous driving, not for watching the screen.

Digital Multimedia Broadcasting TVs are commonly installed in vehicles in South Korea. They are programmed to cut out when the vehicle is in motion but the switch can be deactivated.

Some taxi drivers in Seoul install a TV and glance at it while driving, apparently unhindered by police.

A total of 5505 people were killed in 226 878 vehicle crashes in South Korea in 2010, the Korea Transportation Safety Authority said.