A legislator in the state of West Virginia has proposed a law making it illegal to use Google Glass while driving.
Gary Howell, a Republican in the West Virginia legislature, told Cnet that he proposed HB 3057 to make it illegal to drive while “using a wearable computer with head-mounted display.”
Howell said, “I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law. It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension. ”
He added, “I am a libertarian, and government has no business protecting us from ourselves, but it does have a duty to make sure I don’t injure or kill someone else.”
I guess he doesn’t buy the argument that multitasking is safe while driving. Meanwhile, a publicity-seeking Seattle bar recently banned Google Glass because of concerns about privacy invasions and its poor fashion taste.
In a statement, a spokesman for Google said, “We are putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues. We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.”
On Google’s behalf, Glass could conceivably be used to reduce accidents. So banning it preemptively, before it is even on the market, may not be fair. Glassis going to have safety-enhancing features like spoken turn-by-turn instructions that could be alternatives to dashboard-mounted units that take the driver’s eyes off the road. It could also be integrated with a car’s own heads-up display. Glass is supposed to be there when you need it, and hidden when you don’t.
The actual display is above your field of view, near the sun visor, as if you were in a driver’s seat. And it also has voice commands.
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