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.