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Google Glass Could be Subject to ‘Texting-While-Driving’ Laws

· Business & Technology (rev 18:23) · 15 Comments
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(Credit: Mashable)

Another legal snag may hit Google’s upcoming Glass project: state “texting-while-driving” laws. Some restaurants have already taken steps to ban the upcoming gadget, and state laws may be hitting the gadget next.

Gary G. Howell, a Republican member of the West Virginia legislature crafted a bill that would prohibit “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.” It doesn’t take a detective to deduce what upcoming device the law is aimed towards. Via Mashable:

Howell’s no Luddite — he told CNET’s that he’s a fan of Google Glass in general. However, he sees his bill as an “extension” of texting-while-driving laws aimed at protecting young new drivers and those around them.

“It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things,” he said. “They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers.”

While it’s uncertain if Howell’s bill will gain any traction in West Virginia, it’s not hard to see other legislators around the country following his example. Texting while driving caused 16,141 deaths between 2002 and 2007, according to a 2010 study, numbers that prompted many states to outlaw the practice. Google Glass might be seen by lawmakers as just as dangerously distracting.

Some argue, however, that Google’s Glass may actually “enhance” drivability. Because, you know, focusing on something other than the road while driving typically “enhances” motor safety.

On the other hand, one can also foresee ways in which Google Glass or a technology like it might provide an “enhanced driving” experience which could boost, not reduce, automobile safety. Hypothetically, a Google Glass-powered GPS view could put navigation information in a location that’s actually more convenient than the dashboard. Additionally, Google Glass is heavily voice-controlled, so perhaps the company could add a “driving mode” which would provide audio turn-by-turn directions without any potentially distracting visual elements.

  • MrBeverage

    seems to me to be a great way to “pirate” or record movies in a theater…….

    • mmathieum

      There are smaller and more discrete device with better cameras.

  • kmod

    let me guess…………….police will have a difficult time telling if someone is doing this, so now liberal control freaks are going to claim we need to have devices positioned on the highway that can monitor electronics to make sure we’re not texting/talking/google-glassing while driving.

    • Dave

      Especially when Google sunglasses come out.

  • Wyrdless

    More useless laws written by busybodies with nothing better to do than lord it over everyone else and tell them what to do.

    Typical politican

    • David A.

      There are no new laws required – it is already illegal in most states to operate a motor vehicle w/which the driver’s vision is interfered (presently includes cracked or heavily tinted windshields). In some states (such as my own) it is illegal to have ANY sources of distraction (such as video displays that could show movies) w/in eyesight of the driver.

      I suppose to deal with these “Google Glasses”, each state w/laws like these already on their books will need to add reminders about the subject to their sign collections at their borders (not to mention actually enforcing these existing laws).

      • FoundingFathersGhost

        Based on the definition of distraction you suggest for your state, most every GPS screen and certainly most every cell phone meets the definition of an illegal distraction. Laws that make everyone a criminal serve no purpose except to distract law enforcement from genuine protection of the people they are supposed to serve. Either common sense is dead or too many people want a police state at this point.

  • Tyrone

    What I love about all of these kooks who claim laws regulating what you can do while driving infringes on their “freedoms” also seem to believe the taxpayers should subsidize their risky behavior by picking up the tab for the increase in accidents they cause (and the police, fire & EMT services required). The bottom line is that driving is a privilege society grants to its members to measure up. Those claiming it’s “a right” sound like welfare queens.

    • Zack

      You would agree that you have the right to pursuit of happiness. No?
      You need to be able to travel to pursue happiness.
      Therefore the freedom of travel is guaranteed by the right of pursuit of happiness.
      I’m not saying you should text or in another way endanger others while driving, but traveling and by extension driving is a right.

  • mark edward marchiafava

    We don’t need any more “laws.” If one person harms another person, regardless of the reason or circumstances, they’re liable. End of story. And yes, you ARE welcome !

    • takeyourmeds

      Take your meds, Mark. Go file another lame Federal lawsuit in Louisiana, you nutcase.

  • Commone Senz

    You’re far far more likely to be killed by smart phone than a sports rifle that looks like a military assault weapon.

  • Mendoza

    Of course! Everything’s illegal in America!

  • HarryO

    Probably not but the number of needless deaths and lawsuits from road accidents may have an effect.

  • mmathieum

    On the contrary, I think Glass improves safety because you never have to stop looking at the road and still have access to all the information (GPS, text…) by audio or with an visual overlay.