Last February, I wrote a post entitled “Google Glass Should Be Illegal” urging politicians in New York to proactively making driving with this yet-to-be-released device illegal. Mashable recently wrote about this topic (and, by the way, it felt great to be ahead of the curve vis-a-vis the cutting edge online publication). Specifically, the Mashable piece discussed Gary G. Howell, a Republican member of the West Virginia legislature, who introduced a bill that would amend a state law forbidding texting-while-driving to also prohibit “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.” The new language clearly targets Google Glass.
I applaud Howell’s efforts and hope the New York Legislature would follow his lead. Unfortunately, it too many years for New York to prohibit texting and driving despite the obvious dangers and many studies showing the dangers of distracted driving.
Noteworthy is the suggestion of Mashable author Alex Fitzpatrick that one could “foresee ways in which Google Glass or a technology like it might provide an ‘enhanced driving’ experience which could boost, not reduce, automobile safety. Hypothetically, a Google Glass-powered GPS view could put navigation information in a location that’s actually more convenient than the dashboard. Additionally, Google Glass is heavily voice-controlled, so perhaps the company could add a “driving mode” which would provide audio turn-by-turn directions without any potentially distracting visual elements.”
A Google spokesperson bolstered this position telling Mashable, “We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.”
I am skeptical that using Google Glass while driving can save lives or reduce accidents especially when it is first introduced. However, I am keeping an open mind. With that said, I strongly believe that using Google Glass (and similar devices) should be made a moving violation immediately. Send a message to buyers of this product (once it is available) that it is not to be used while operating a motor vehicle. At the same time, I welcome studies to determine whether and how it can make vehicular travel safer. If and only if this is clearly shown, then the Google Glass restriction can be stricken or amended.
What do you think?