- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 10, 2004

DETROIT (AP) — Andrea Carlton hadn’t planned on telling her daughter about the birds and the bees until she was 8 or 9. But that changed the night 4-year-old Catherine spotted a porno movie flickering on a screen in a minivan nearby.

“Just like there’s no windows in a strip club, you shouldn’t be able to see inside windows in a car when they’re watching X-rated movies,” said Mrs. Carlton, from Gurnee, Ill.

Mrs. Carlton, 26, said she was driving in the Chicago suburb of Buffalo Grove with her daughter when Catherine glimpsed the sexually explicit movie.

More and more Americans are buying vehicles with DVD players, usually to keep the children entertained. But an increasing number of other people on the road are catching a glimpse through the windows of more than just “Finding Nemo” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Depending on where they are driving or parked, motorists could face fines and even jail time for screening X-rated television. But where the law may not be clear, some are calling for tighter regulation.

“Residents should not be subjected to those obscenities,” said Flint City Council member Carolyn Sims, who is examining whether an ordinance packing a $500 fine is needed. “They do have a right to have peace and tranquility and not to have this exposure to sex in their face.”

A driver in Schenectady, N.Y., was arrested last month after rolling past police with a pornographic DVD playing on the passenger-side sun visor in his Mercedes-Benz, authorities said. The movie also was rolling on screens set into the car’s headrests.

The driver was accused of breaking state laws prohibiting watching television while driving, as well as a law making it illegal to exhibit sexually explicit material in a public place.

“The detective had a clear view of what was playing through the window. Anyone walking by on the street could have seen it,” Schenectady police Lt. Peter Frisoni Jr. said of the nighttime traffic stop. “If he had dark, tinted windows where you couldn’t see in, that wouldn’t be a public display.”

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