Will Arizona and other states prematurely outlaw the use of Google Glass while driving?

Google glasses will soon be hitting the market place. Some of you might be asking, what is Google Glass? The short answer would be glasses that are essentially a headmounted computer that allows you to do many functions hands-free with voice commands. You can use internet, take photos and video, get directions, send a message, obtain weather and flight information, and even use a Google+ hang out. The product won’t be cheap, around $1,500 and reportedly will be available as soon as the end of 2013.

That being said, even though the technology is not available yet, a politician in West Virginia has proposed legislation banning Google Glass while driving. A Republican named Gary Howell has proposed HB 3057 to make it against the law to use a “wearable computer with headmounted display” while operating a motor vehicle.

Howell has reportedly said that he likes the idea of Google Glass, but he also believes that the product will mainly be used by younger, less skilled drivers.He said that we are all aware of the many auto accidents caused by texting and driving, and that the legislator worked very hard to pass a no texting and driving law.

 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1uyQZNg2vE
 
Google Glass YouTube Video

It has not been reported what, if any safety research the legislator looked at before proposing the law. A spokesperson from Google responded that they have put a lot of thought into the design of Google Glass and that the product has a tremendous potential to improve safety on the roads and reduce the number of accidents.

The glasses are supposed to have many features to increase safety, such as spoken turn by turn instructions. You will be able to verbally inform Glass where you want to go and the navigation will begin. You can keep your eyes on the road, you don’t have to start looking at the navigation on your dashboard or on your cell phone. I personally use Google maps on my iPhone when navigating in my car. I can verbally request directions from the phone, but just like a dashboard unit, I do have to take my eyes off the road to look at the map. I also take my eyes off the road to pick up the phone.

As I sit here and write this article, I’m starting wonder if this West Virginia law, if passed, is going to end up allowing fatalities to occur that otherwise could have been prevented. Let’s be realistic, texting and driving is against the law in many states, but a high percentage of teenagers admit that they still text and drive. And, texting laws are very hard to enforce. With the new Google technology, the teenager could send the text without taking his or her eyes off the road, thereby reducing accidents and fatalities.

I hope that before law like this is passed in West Virginia and other states, the politicians take a good and long hard look at the research. As a car accident lawyer who often represents people who have been injured by distracted drivers, I would hope at some point soon this product will be tested for the safety issues and try to determine what would make our roads safer.

If you have been injured in an Arizona auto accident caused by a distracted driver in the Phoenix area, call our office for free consultation and learn your rights. Call 602-819-5191 or contact us through our website.

Resources:

The new DUI: State may make it illegal to drive while using Google Glass, By Dean Takahashi, March 24, 2013, VentureBeat.com
Google Glass: what you need to know, By James Rivington, March 25, 2013, Techradar.com