Lawmaker Cites Wearable Computers could Lead to Distracted Driving

Google Glass hasn’t even hit the consumer market yet, but a lawmaker in West Virginia is already proposing a ban prohibiting motorists from wearing the device while driving. Google Glass is anticipated to reach the market by the end of this year or sometime in 2014.

West Virginia Legislature Republican Gary G. Howell wants to revise a current law that addresses texting and driving. It does not specifically mention Google Glass in the law. The proposed legislature, called H.B. 3057 does include the phrase, “Using a wearable computer with head mounted display.”

Howell, who likes the idea of Google Glass, did tell CNET that an earlier article written by them inspired his proposing of the new law.

 “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,” said Howell, reported 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.”

As technology speeds ahead, it is typically the laws that cannot keep up. In this case it appears the lawmaker wants to be proactive so issues can be addressed before they arise. Distracted driving is a serious issue. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 over 3,000 people died in crashes caused by distracted driving.  

In the U.S. many laws are being updated in various states to address technologies such as cellphone talking and texting. However, this could be a first where a law is passed banning an item before it is even sold.

Google sent out a statement to the media which said (courtesy of Mashable)

 “We are putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues. We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.”

Although, Google is working steadily on its driverless car and could very well perceive its glasses product as not having any interference at all. However, many people are still leery of driverless cars and chances are traditional driving with a person operating the vehicle is going to be around for some time.