Friday, March 29, 2013

West Virginia Legislator Wants to Ban #GoogleGlass While Driving

West Virginia Legislator Wants to Ban Google Glass While Driving, Willing to Legislate By Horrific Anecdote If Necessary:
Google’s Next Big Thing is a
pair of geeky looking glasses with display and video capabilities
that wearers the ability to display contextual information about
what they’re seeing, call up web-based information, and record and
stream video from the headset. It’s called Glass, and the
elevator pitch is that it’s an iPhone crossed with a pair of
spectacles.
Glass is not yet available to the general public, but Google has
released a few thousand test sets into the wild. Naturally, we’re
already seeing state efforts to restrict use of the technology.
A state legislator in West Virginia is attempting
to amend and extend its existing rule prohibiting texting while
driving to cover hands-free devices like Glass. The effect would be
to outlaw one of the tech’s most obvious potential uses: driving
instructions in a heads-up display. Republican Gary Howell, who is
behind the legislation, says he worries about wearers getting
distracted by all the information that Glass could provide that
isn’t related to navigation—things like YouTube videos, text
messages, or political news websites.
I agree that it is probably not a good idea to try to watch
Nicholas Cage
supercuts
while attempting to navigate heavy traffic. But the
vast majority of drivers will also be well aware that this is not a
particularly good idea, that not paying attention while driving is
dangerous-to themselves and to others, and will respond
accordingly. Drivers who do not care, meanwhile, will continue to
have plenty of other opportunities to distract themselves while
behind the wheel: reading newspapers, for example, or reaching into
the backseat to grab a bottle of water or break up a fight between
children. Restricting Google Glass while driving won’t put a stop
to distracted driving or opportunities for distracted driving, but
it will prevent attentive drivers from using the technology’s
navigation features.
Howell is not sure that his bill will pass during the current
legislative session. But he’s willing to wait, because he believes
that will enable him to legislate by horrific anecdote. Google
Glass is set to become
available to the general public
later this year, and Howell
expects that will create exactly the opportunity he believes he
needs to amend the state’s mobile-tech driving laws. By the time
the 2014 legislative session rolls around, he
predicts
to Ars Technica, “we'll have some horror stories where
people [were wearing] Glass and crashed.”