Driving Under The Influence Of TV

For drivers these days, it's not what's "under the hood" that counts. It's what's in the dashboard, in the headrests and in the sun visors.

"This is pretty much my bank account you are looking at," says Billy Raven.

Inside Raven's BMW, a DVD plays on 11 screens, including one by the gas tank. Raven says he souped-up his couch potato cruiser for display at car shows.

He says he's spent close to $30,000 on his car so far, and by the time he's finished it'll probably be closer to $40,000.

"People have hobbies," he says. "This is my hobby."

But, as CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta reports, his hobby has earned a couple of traffic tickets. The violation, as it reads in most states: "television in view of driver."

In other words: .

"It's a continued reflection of the fact that we don't take driving seriously enough in this country," says Robert Sinclair of AAA.

Glamorized on MTV's reality show "Pimp My Ride," in-car DVDs and even satellite TV service are now making their way into the mainstream.

MTV, like CBSNews.com and CBS News, is owned by Viacom.

That makes custom car designer to the stars Will Castro, of Unique Auto Sports, in demand.

"Every car that we do, we do television," says Castro. "Everyone has a family. Everyone has children, so everyone wants to keep them occupied."

These mobile entertainment centers aren't just for the kids in the backseat anymore. That's why the safety experts say this is one drive-in movie they don't want to see.

Consider the case of Jamie Petterson. He's charged with second-degree murder in Alaska, after his pick-up collided head-on with an SUV, killing the couple inside. Petterson is accused of watching his dashboard DVD at 90 miles per hour.

Sinclair sees more roadway disasters on the horizon now that the big-car makers are selling these systems to consumers.

"There are plenty of things coming from the manufacturers themselves that distract people from the business of operating a motor vehicle safely," says Sinclair.

With more of these rolling living rooms hitting the highways, lawmakers across the country are setting new limits on in-car entertainment, fearing this road trip has gone too far.
  • Jaime Holguin

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