The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

March 14, 2013

Senate tackles televisions in the front seat of vehicles and basketball

CHARLESTON — Televisions in the front seat of vehicles and high school basketball took center stage Wednesday in the West Virginia Senate.

A fresh bill offered by freshman Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, an automobile dealer in his hometown, would allow the advanced technology that provides television viewing by a front seat passenger — without impairing the driver.

“Right now, you can’t have a video screen that would show a movie in the front seat because that would distract the driver,” he explained.

“This technology restricts the side view of a screen. It blocks out the screen if you look at from an angle. If you look at it straight on, you can see it.”

Cole emphasized that SB515 doesn’t change any rules applicable to moving maps, GPS, displays, fuel computers and the like.

All the bill would do is give the front seat passenger some entertainment.

“That’s new technology, so we’re just clearing away for the new technology, I guess,” Cole said.

Cole said no vehicle in his inventory features the advanced television monitors but such devices are beginning to appear in the market.

The screens work just like the wide screen televisions, whose picture degrades if one attempts to watch it from the side.

And the sound isn’t likely to be a distraction, either, he noted, since it is no more than a radio or CD player.

“And I think most of those people put on wireless headsets, anyway,” he added.

Joining him as co-sponsors were Sens. Mike Green, D-Raleigh; Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming; and Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson.

Senators paused from the routine of business to honor the Huntington Prep basketball team, ranked No. 1 in the nation and led by Andrew Wiggins, recently named this year’s top American high school hoopster.

“These boys are outstanding in so many respects,” Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, said.

Jenkins described Huntington Prep as an academy of students drawn from across the world who live with Huntington residents and attend St. Joseph High School.

“This is the best of the best nationally,” he said.

Green found it fitting to be honoring scholastic athletics at the very hour his alma mater — Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley — engaged Hurricane in the opening round of the Class AAA tournament.

In quest of its 18th state title, the Flying Eagles held off Hurricane in a quarterfinal game, 63-54.

Green played for the Eagles in 1990 and 1992 when the school captured two Class AAA crowns.

Green singled out the Huntington Prep squad’s head coach, Rob Fulford, a onetime classmate at Concord University, and a product of Mullens, a town in his district that also produced the famous sports family, the D’Antonis.

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