With the upcoming introduction of Google Glass technology to the public, it seems there may be some legal issues to address. The technology basically involves a miniature computer worn like a pair of glasses, providing the same technology that many people access through their smartphones. This hands-free technology is just more step in the journey of information accessibility.
The Politics of Driving with Google Glass
Politicians have already begun to take some shots at the use of the technology and one state has already introduced a bill to keep the device off of the faces of drivers. While potential users may be rallying for the gadget and dreaming of using the GPS app during their errands and travels, some lawmakers are concerned that the technology used to project a display into the direct view of the driver could prove to be a temptation that cannot be ignored.
Extending the Cellphone Ban to the Google Glass Device
In recent news, a politician in West Virginia has introduced a bill to ban the use of the Google Glass device while driving. While GPS technology is available through the technology, the politician is mainly concerned with those people who won’t restrict their use to the GPS while driving. He fears the consequences of Google Glass-wearing drivers who are streaming videos, checking their email, or watching YouTube clips. The main point here is that those drivers won’t be paying attention to the road and the conditions around them because they will be playing with their apps instead.
Although it seems like it could be a little bit hard to catch offenders, when the device so closely resembles a pair of eyeglasses.
Will Google Glass Actually Improve Driving?
Is this a valid concern? The company points to many applications which could potentially improve driving. They mention the efforts that they have taken to provide technology which could actually help drivers rather than distract them.
Fighter Pilot Technology on Public Roads?
Other people, who are excited to try out the devices and don’t want to see their use limited, have compared the device to the displays used by fighter pilots. The difference being that the display is coming from a device worn like a pair of glasses.
A Balance Between Helpful and Hazardous
In other states, users may need to find out for themselves whether the technology is a hazard while driving. This subject doesn’t seem to be on too many of the states’ agendas at this point and drivers may take advantage of the “hands-free” designation in order to use the device while driving.
Some drivers are hoping that the device can help to make their driving safer through the use of software written specifically for this and because of the careful thought which has gone into the physical design of the gadget.
What are the differences between using Google Glass and a typical hands-free device? Probably the most important difference, and the one leading to the creation of the bill, is that Google Glass will project a display into the line of sight of the person using the technology.
When it comes to driving, there are no questions that quick reactions to various stimuli can mean the difference between tragedy and a near-miss.
Even hands-free distractions have been a cause for concern for those organizations hoping to improve safety on the roads. Conversations in the car, eating or drinking while driving, and fiddling with the radio can all lead to a second of distraction which can turn into an accident.
Adding one more level of distraction by injecting more visual stimuli into the situation seems, on the surface, to be asking for trouble.
However, not everyone is convinced that the use of Google Glass while driving is a bad thing. One can only imagine the benefits of a gadget that can pick up movement and flash a warning if the driver is distracted by something else. Maybe the use of the technology can continually refocus the attention of the driver onto the road. There aren’t many hands-free devices that can do that.
On top of that, the GPS information can be displayed at eye level, so that the driver doesn’t have to constantly look away from the road in order to check out the GPS display.
There may be plenty of other advantages yet to be seen once the technology is widely available.
Maybe the biggest problem isn’t with the device at all, but with the tendency of drivers (and people everywhere) to try to do too many things at once. Let’s face it; driving isn’t always very exciting. If the use of Google Glass can keep more drivers’ eyes on the road than down at the smartphone in their lap, then it certainly seems like a safer option.