The answer to the above question is obvious on its face. Yet, with the release of this ground-breaking technology just a few days ago, we’ve already seen motorists driving motor vehicles wearing them.
Per Apple’s website, the Apple Vision Pro provides “an infinite canvas that transforms how you use the apps you love. Arrange apps anywhere and scale them to the perfect size, making the workspace of your dreams a reality — all while staying present in the world around you. Browse the web in Safari, create a to-do list in Notes, chat in Messages, and seamlessly move between them with a glance” (emphasis added). While you “may stay present in the world” (the Apple Vision Pro allows you to see through its lens and somewhat see what’s in front of you), you certainly cannot stay present enough to drive a motor vehicle. However, the question remains, is it illegal to drive with my Apple Vision Pro?
At first blush, you would think that New York’s electronic device law does prohibit driving with an Apple Vision Pro. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d prohits operating a motor vehicle while using a “portable electronic device”. This offense carries 5 points and a fine (and surcharge). A “portable electronic device” is defined to include any “broadband personal communication device” or “portable computing device or any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive, or read text for present or future communication.” Clearly, an Apple Vision Pro is a “portable electronic device”. However, the section does not apply because this section only restricts illegally using such devices. Using is defined to mean “holding a portable electronic device while “viewing, taking or transmitting images”, among other things. VTL § 1225-d(2)(a). Because the Apple Vision Pro is designed to be used while affixed to your head, it is not held or being “used” as that term is defined in VTL § 1225-d(2)(b).
But before you start driving and engage in spatially computing, you should know that Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1212 makes reckless driving illegal. Reckless driving is defined as driving in a manner that “unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway”. In my opinion, driving with an Apple Vision Pro qualifies as reckless driving as it unreasonably endangers other drivers and pedestrians. Reckless driving also carries 5 points and a fine (and surcharge). However, it is also a criminal offense (misdemeanor) and, therefore, can subject the offender to probation or imprisonment.
Further, in New York City, such misconduct can likely be considered dangerous driving in violation of Traffic Regulation NYCRR § 4-02(c) which states: “No person shall operate a vehicle in a manner that will endanger any person or property.” This regulation carries 2 points and a fine (and surcharge). Similarly, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1146 requires that every driver of a vehicle “exercise due care to avoid colliding with any bicyclist, pedestrian, or domestic animal” which would apply if any of those were to be struck. Section 1146 also carries 2 points and a fine (and surcharge).
Regardless of what section of law under which you are written up, driving with an Apple Vision Pro is dangerous and illegal in New York.