Google Glass Behind the Wheel? Lawmakers Say No

Speedbumps ahead for Google Glass in cars

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Google Glass (Tedeytan/flickr)

Google’s prototype wearable computer, Glass, has been in the hands — well, faces — of a few thousand users across the United States for the past year. The company is asking these “Glass Explorers” to provide feedback on how they’re using the device and what more they’d like from it.

These early adopters, however, aren’t the only ones responding: Lawmakers in New York and New Jersey and in at least six other states across the country believe the devices are dangerous when used by drivers. Assemblyman Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) has introduced one of three bills in Albany that would prohibit drivers from using Glass or similar devices. His bill, however, would go even further.

“These companies – the manufacturers, the sellers – they’re all making great profits off the sale of these items,” Crespo said. “And there should be some consciousness over the fact that the use of them improperly will lead to death.”

His bill would let victims of car crashes sue Google and other device manufacturers if the driver who cause the accident was using their wearable device.

Safe driving advocates are also concerned about the growing use of this new technology.

“Just looking at this and using common sense, it would seem to be something someone should not be doing while they’re behind the wheel,” said Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA in New York.

Google responds that Glass is safe to use behind the wheel and can even assist in driving. For example, its navigation app includes turn-by-turn driving directions. Company representatives say the device is inherently less distracting than a smartphone because rather than looking down at a screen, users just have to glance up and to the right, like they’re checking a car’s rear-view mirror.

The company does, however, advise users to be aware of local laws regarding wearable technology and to make their own informed decisions.

“When you’re wearing Glass, we just ask you to be very aware of what’s going on around you, to use it wisely, the same way you would use any technology,” said Chrissy Persico, a spokeswoman for Google.


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Comments [6]

Technology like Google Glass can save lives. It is much less distracting than a cell phone. A Wichita University Professor proved this in a driving simulator. Hundreds of studies have shown that a HUD is the safest way to provide information to a driver. Google Glass is the safest GPS available. It has a heads-up display, a hands-free interface, and can even be used completely eyes-free, allowing the user to keep their eyes on the road at all times. Banning technology like Glass could lead to otherwise preventable road deaths. These legislators need to try the technology first before jumping to conclusions. That is irresponsible.

Apr. 18 2014 10:01 AM

I have Glass and if I had a car, I'd use a map on Glass before I'd use any of the new built-in GPS mapping devices in the dash of a car. The image is literally just a couple of degrees above and to the right - much closer than anything else one looks at in the car - including tuning the radio or reaching for a cup of coffee. Distraction is definitely a safety issue, but Glass shouldn't be the big new target of restriction.

Apr. 18 2014 12:01 AM

Can't people be without their gadgets for the period of time they are driving? If not, I think we're approaching a state most would agree qualifies as addiction. And, no, the answer isn't Google self-driving cars, for heck's sake. The answer is step away from time to time. Focusing on the details of your own locomotion and your impact on others is important, unless we wish to morph into a society of aspergersesque drones in our own little self-referential worlds--plowing into those objects who happen to get in our way [i.e., pedestrians, other cars, etc.]

Apr. 17 2014 03:47 PM

I think it could be useful for driving create an app for it, let's call it GlassSat, or GlassNav to give you live directions to your location

Apr. 17 2014 01:24 PM

This is a RIDICULOUS device for the truly PATHETIC tech victim.

I believe the term is Glasshole.

Apr. 17 2014 10:48 AM
Dave from Sunset Park

With every gadget emitting a wireless signal, I find it hard to believe that they don't have a car mode, ie standby when you're driving a vehicle. What's the holdup?!

Apr. 17 2014 09:02 AM

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