Road Test IQ

Think you're smart about avoiding distractions and driving safely with consumer electronics? Take our 10-question road safety quiz. Can you score a perfect 10? See how your results compare with other respondents. Good luck!  Click here to view the correct answers.

  1. True or False: As long as the driver isn't watching, it's safe to show movies on in-dash video screens while traveling.
  2. True or False: An in-dash video monitor used for navigation, or for rear or side observation (e.g., rear-view camera) can be installed and used in the front-seat area.
  3. True or False: Eating or drinking while driving is not a major cause of driver distraction.
  4. True or False: Currently, there are federal laws governing the use of in-vehicle electronics, such as a GPS navigation system, while the vehicle is in operation.
  5. True or False: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can write laws governing the use of in-car devices but not cell phones.
  6. True or False: An employer can be held civilly liable for crashes caused by an employee's use of a cell phone while driving.
  7. True or False: The alleged involvement of devices in motor vehicle crashes also has been the subject of several criminal cases.
  8. True or False: Driver distraction only accounts for a small percentage of accidents each year.
  9. True or False: Most politicians really aren't concerned about driver distraction, and most states aren't even considering legislation on the issue.
  10. True or False: Currently, there is no state, city or other legal jurisdiction with an outright ban on the use of cell phones while driving.

  1. False: Front seat video screens must be equipped with an interlock that prevents the display of business or entertainment-related sources in a moving vehicle. Laws governing mobile-video-screen use do vary by state. In fact, there are at least 35 states that regulate the use or placement of televisions in motor vehicles. To see what your state says, check out the Road Rules section of the site.
  2. True: Just make sure the device has a mechanism that won't allow you to view video entertainment or business-related information while the vehicle is in motion. Additionally, most rear or side observation devices, such as a rearview camera, also use a reverse-trigger wire that engages the camera only when the vehicle is placed into reverse.
  3. False: Safety experts say that doing anything while driving can divert your attention and contribute to involvement in an accident. Insurers cite studies showing eating and drinking as the most common distractions while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that distraction occurs when drivers look away from the road, are mentally preoccupied, or take their hands off the steering wheel. Bottom line, something as simple as talking to a passenger can be considered a distraction. It’s also important to keep in mind that some activities are carried out more often and for longer periods of time, which results in greater risk.
  4. False: As of August 2009, the federal government has not passed legislation on the distracted driving issue. However, in July 2009, Senator Chuck Schumer introduced the Avoiding Life-Endangering and Reckless Texting by Drivers Act, which would reduce the amount of federal highway funding for states that do not enact texting bans.
  5. True: Under federal law, NHTSA can regulate "motor vehicle equipment" that poses a safety risk. But cell phones, or other devices brought into the vehicle, don't fall in that category. That's why all laws governing cell phone use have been enacted at the local and state level.
  6. True: Under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer may be held vicariously liable for acts of their employees that are committed during the course of employment. Several cases have tested this doctrine as it applies to cell phone use by employees who use their phones in the course of employment while driving their vehicles.
  7. True: In 2004, Alaska prosecutors charged a driver with second-degree murder for an accident they say was caused by a DVD player. Prosecutors accused the driver of watching a movie while operating his truck, causing him to swerve across the road and kill two occupants of another vehicle. The driver, who was issued murder charges based on the theory that he knowingly engaged in conduct that showed extreme indifference to human life, was acquitted at trial. He claimed that he was merely adjusting his CD player at the time of the crash.
  8. False: Each year, approximately 40,000 people are killed and more than two million are injured in more than six million motor vehicle crashes on the nation's roads. A recent Virginia Tech study found that driver inattention causes approximately 80 percent of all crashes.
  9. False: Since 1999, every state in the union has considered legislation related to driver distraction. As of August 2009, five states and Washington D.C. prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones, and 18 states ban using text-based message while driving.
  10. False: As of August 2009, five states (California, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon) plus the District of Columbia have enacted an outright ban on cell phones while driving (except while using a hand-free device).