Google Glass already facing driving ban as West Virginia preps law

Who said the lawmakers can't keep pace with technology?
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

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.

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