Google Glass, the hot new hands-free mobile technology with a head-mounted display, may be outlawed in some states concerned about distracted driving accidents. State lawmakers in Wyoming, West Virginia and New York are all making moves to prevent drivers from using Google Glass on the road.
New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who is supporting a bill to make using Google Glass illegal while driving, describes the high-tech device as “extremely dangerous technology” and compares Google Glass to talking on a cellphone while driving. Ortiz is well known for being aggressive on the issue of distracted driving, and he took the lead in a statewide ban on the use of hand-held cellphones by drivers in New York.
Despite legislative enthusiasm for bans on Google Glass behind the wheel, enforcement may be a challenge. A California woman was charged with distracted driving for using Google Glass behind the wheel but was found not guilty.
The deciding factor in the case highlights how Google Glass bans might be difficult for police to enforce. Despite evidence that she was wearing the device while driving, police were unable to prove that she was actually using her Google Glass when she was pulled over. The woman took to Facebook after her case was dismissed, enthusiastically proclaiming, “Yes, we can continue to be CYBORGS even when we drive!”
Google Glass—like many mobile technologies—is billed as a solution to distracted driving because it allows users to make calls, browse the Web, read emails, and use apps without taking their hands off the wheel. However, the National Safety Council and other traffic safety groups assert that the cognitive distraction of using mobile technology while driving is significant, and thus can easily lead to wrecks.
Whether Google Glass will become illegal for drivers around the country remains to be seen. Considering that the device is not yet available to the general public and several states are already trying to pass bans for drivers, it appears that the tech gadget will face heavy fire from traffic safety advocates.