It’s a good thing that Google is building a driverless car because lawmakers are already sending shots across the bow to stop Google Glass from being used while driving. For a device that hasn’t even been released to the public yet, it’s certainly getting a lot of attention.
The legislation, introduced in West Virginia by Republican Gary G. Howell, would add Google Glass to current laws regarding texting while driving. While some will argue that Google Glass will actually help prevent the more dangerous handheld device texting by allowing the driver to continue to look at the road and use voice commands to text, the concept is that full attention should be paid to the road at all times and Google Glass doesn’t allow that.
While we anticipated this move in our post about why Google Glass will fail, we didn’t see a preemptive strike by politicians. We assumed that they would wait until there was an incident before calling it too dangerous for driving, but here we are. In reality, this seems to be more of a publicity stunt than anything else, something that has been more common in American politics in recent years when it involves technology. Supporters of the bill admit that they don’t believe it will pass and Howell himself said, “I believe it is the future” when asked about the technology itself, but that won’t stop the bill from getting attention.
This will be a hard law to enforce. It’s not like texting or talking on a phone while driving during which law enforcement officers can see a device being held up to one’s head or notice someone looking down and driving erratically. The device itself would be hard to spot as anything different than a pair of regular eyeglasses unless someone was stopped. This certainly smells more like a symbolic grab at attention more than serious politics.
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“Driving a Car” image courtesy of Shutterstock.