Google Glass already facing driving ban as West Virginia preps law

Google Glass already facing driving ban as West Virginia preps law

Summary: Who said the lawmakers can't keep pace with technology?

TOPICS: Hardware, Google

Lawmakers in the US have proposed a bill outlawing operating a vehicle with head-mounted displays like Google Glass, even before the networked specs are commercially available.

West Virginia Legislature Republican Gary G Howell last week proposed a bill that would prohibit "using a wearable computer with head mounted display", preemptively bringing Google's technology in line with existing state bans on driving while texting or using a phone without a handsfree kit.

Howell told ZDNet's sister site CNET that he believes the government has a duty make sure citizens don't injure or kill someone else when they cross the road because they're reading a message.

"I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law," Howell told CNET.

"It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."

Howell's proposed ban on networked specs while driving would make an exception for law enforcement and other emergency services officers.

The lawmaker was not confident the bill will pass, however, but believes that other similar legislation will follow.

Earlier this month, the 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, Washington made headlines by also preemptively banning patrons from wearing Google Glass in the cafe to protect the privacy of other customers.

The bill comes as more US states pass laws permitting Google's Project X innovation on roads: Google's autonomous cars. California followed Nevada's lead by allowing Google to drive the cars — as long as a human is behind the wheel — on state roads.

Topics: Hardware, Google

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Studies?

    Did the legislature actually conduct safety studies or did they simply put on their luddite caps and decree that this demon technology simply can't be good. Don't get me wrong, I would sooner show up at work in only a pair of boxer shorts that wear those things on my head, but this legislation really reeks of gun jumping. After all, fighter pilots have been using HUDs in combat for decades, and that's an activity that demands focus and quick reflexes as well as excellent environmental awareness.
    • dsf3g

      Fighter pilots don't have facebook and text messages popping up on their displays. Fighter pilots are also selected few that have went through rigorous training. Do you honestly believe that the average driver compares to a fighter pilot? The Law maker is being foreward thinking. Why wait till there are deaths and habits made.
      Edwin Combs
      • The So called "lawmaker" is a moron like his supporters

        Drooling cretins making laws before even seeing the technology need impeached and deported.

        Howell is mentally damaged, he isn't mentally equipped to handle a bicycle let alone anything with 4 wheels. I doubt if he could understand a horse and buggy, he is so dim.
        Reality Bites
      • Drivers already have GPS,

        ...and GPS would be safer and easier to use on Google Glass than on the dashboard looking 30 degrees away from the road.

        Also, the knuckleheads that txt and drive will anyway, just like that idiot reads the paper while driving to work every day.
    • Need vs want

      Fighter pilots NEED those HUDS, it's a key tool they use to navigate and aim.
      Unless I'm wrong, Google Glass isn't used to specifically navigate the vehicle; it's not a needed part of driving a commercial vehicle.
      • Not needed maybe...

        But it could be useful. The car could connect to the glasses and move all the dash info to the HUD even display backup/blindspot cameras. Gettng all that info without moving your eyes off the road shoud make things safer.
        Michael Changes
        • In or On a Vehicle

          Slave to blind spot and rear view capacity with dash controls.

          These idiots with "ban while driving" are beyond moronistic.
          • Dude

            I had some idiot on a cell phone breeze through a stop sign and come within feet of hitting us. I see it all the time out here. They have the stats to back all this up, you know.
          • stats on what?

            I'm pretty sure the number of people who have car accidents while using Google glass is currently 0. If you're going to draw any conclusions from the actual statistics, then the only possible conclusion i tht Google glass will prevent 100% of collisions. However, the pool of data for this is currently not nearly statistically significant yet so you really can't draw any conclusions.

            What, exactly, do they have stats on? Trying to type a text message while driving? If you can't see the difference between removing one or both hands from the wheel, looking down into your lap, and trying to position your fingers to hit those smallish letters and having a GPS image or message in the top-right coner of your peripherial vision and why the statistics from one might not necessarily apply to the other, I think you are delusional.

            Now, I'm not saying people are going to drive exactly as well with a text message on their glasses but what I am saying is we currently DON'T KNOW. The question is whether it's more distracting than trying to change the radio station. If less, then we need to ban in-car radios before Google Glass.
            Brandon Rinebold
          • Batter Safe than Sorry

            This is the primary goal of those legislators.

            It will be too late to rethink, when you die in a car accident and the other party was wearing Google Glass and flirting with someone on Facebook.

            Nobody prevents you from using the gadgets in your private property.
        • Could be useful, but it WON'T be

          Yeah it COULD be useful while driving -- if it was limited to strictly driving-related functions. But there is no way on earth that people would limit themselves to that.

          Sadly, *everyone* here knows that a "Google Glass" type device would be used by *most* drivers to watch YouTube, read email or other entertainment while they drive. And if you believe otherwise, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you...
        • Good idea

          It would be much better to have a HUD than have to look down with one caveat. The HUD can't preempt your attention. Traveling with cars on every side at 75 MPH is no time for distractions.
          • 75MPH is asinine, saves little time, and wastes gas and oil

            We need 55MPH reinstated, and people valuing time instead of saying "time is money" and becoming rabidly frivolous and irresponsible toward each other as a result.

            Society has to change for the benefit of everyone that lives in it, or else we are not a society but a large gaggle of parasites that live by sucking off of each others' blood, starting from the top down and those at the bottom are usually the dried and empty husks...
          • Re: Society has to change

            Doesn't it then make sense to ban Google Glass and similar from cars?
    • Fighter pilots don't have pedestrians

      trucks, cars, animals, stop signs or red lights to contend with, so a moment's distraction away from outside the c0ckpit* isn't much of an issue, unless you're a member of a precision flight team like the Blue Angles

      It's not like there's a whole heck of a lot of things at 30,000 feet that you have to avoid.

      They also don't wear them directly over the eye, so line of site is not an issue.

      (* wouldn't let me use the actual word)
      William Farrel
      • Catch up

        Ever worn a helmet with built in HUD?
        Pretty freakingly awesome.
        • technology replaces human thinking

          then, if the technology is removed, the people have a hard time thinking again...
      • They don't have those things, however during combat

        a moment of distraction can result in crashing or being struck by a missile or shells.
        • Which is why it is displaying info from what's happening around them

          so that they don't need to look down at the gauges. It doesn't flash up ads or restaurants, or youtube vido while they're flying on in combat.

          Some cars have HUD that allow them to see their speed without looking away from the road.

          Glasses like these would do the opposite.
          William Farrel
      • Yes!

        Unlike cars, it is absolutely essential to be on top of what the airplane is telling you.