We knew this was coming. Legislators in West Virginia are proposing an amendment that bans Google Glass or any other head-mounted display while driving.
The amendment, sponsored by 10 West Virginia legislators and spearheaded by Gary G. Howell (R),inserts new language into HB 3057 that bans “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.”
The original legislation was passed last year to prohibit the use of mobile phones behind the wheel.
“We spent a lot of time developing a no-texting bill,” House of Delegates member Gary Howell told Wired, “but this Google Glass thing gets around it because it’s a hands-free device.”
That’s an unforeseen caveat that other state legislators might have to look into, as most in-car mobile phone bans allow drivers to use Bluetooth devices to take calls. And with Google Glass set to hit the market this year and other companies, including Sony, working on similar wearable tech, amendments are sure to be proposed as awareness grows.
“Unlike a head-up display in a car or even a fighter jet,” Howell pointed out, “that information is crucial to the operator. Can you imagine a fighter pilot watching cat videos in a multimillion-dollar aircraft?”
That’s a fun straw man, but it does address the larger concern of legislators and safety advocates about access to too much information while driving. It could also limit the usefulness of such devices.