Google Glass Could Be Banned for Drivers in West Virginia

from Wired

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.

More here.

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22 Responses to Google Glass Could Be Banned for Drivers in West Virginia

  1. Robbie Carbonello February 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    When it comes to operating a motor vehicle there are many things that can cause distractions to the driver. Actions such as changing the radio station, texting, making a phone call, eating, and many more are all things that alter the driver in driving with full awareness to the road. Most states, if not all states have a ban on using a cell phone while driving because it obviously can lead to collisions and other harmful outcomes. When looking at the new technology put out by Google, the new Google Glass, it is basically a way for people to operate a cell phone without any hands having it right in your face. Given that having a Bluetooth device is acceptable because it is hands free, Google has created something so much more adapt and I do not see why driving with these new glasses would be more harmful then staring down at your phone. A perfect example was shown in this article that it would be much easier for someone to work a GPS device staring through the glasses and keeping their eyes connected on the road.
    It is obvious that the Legislators in West Virginia are just looking out for the safety and well-being of their citizens. I feel like they believe it can pose a threat to drivers and affect them because it is in there line of vision to the road. I firmly agree that the Google Glass will be a distraction in the car along with everything else that people do in car legally, but this device is hands free. Putting a ban on this new form of technology would be odd for me because I feel like this device was created for convenience and it seems very suitable for driving. The reasons why this particular topic can be so difficult to judge whether it is a positive or negative device for the road is because it is a new piece of technology. The only way to find out is to test it on the road in comparison to using a cell phone. I believe that Google Glass will be a major impact on many situations in life, especially driving.

  2. Michael Fantozzi February 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

    I think this is a very good law to pass. It would be too much of a distraction to the user if wearing Google glass. Like they said in the article you could have people driving while watching videos on their glasses. I feel this law has to be passed through out the country.

    This law is similar to why we can’t use cell phones while driving. By using these Google glasses would be the same as using their cell phones. The glasses would be too much of a distraction. I feel this is a very good law.

  3. Justin Serpa April 4, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

    Personally, this law wouldn’t affect me for two reasons. One is I don’t live in West Virginia and two; I would not spend $2,000 on a product that I can possibly drop and break just like regular glasses. However, I find this article to be interesting because nowadays, companies are finding new ways on improving our lives but are still forgetting that products like these are dangerous for the most part. It is thoughtful for a company like Google to make a product with a built in navigation system. However, by having this feature, drivers could get distracted because they can easily access this device from the use of their voice while driving. As of now, texting and driving is one of the biggest causes of accidents in our society. By having a device that attaches to your head and is controlled by your voice, this device would likely take the number one spot for causes of accidents. The chance of a teen looking up a YouTube video while driving is a high possibility, which would probably cause some accidents. So even though this law would not affect me, I still believe that it is a needed one, not only in West Virginia but also in every state.

  4. Francesca Arcuri April 5, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    I am with West Virginia on this one. Although I do not know much about Google Glass, what I do know is that they most definitely are going to be another distraction for a user and could create chaos. Of course there are other things that people can do while driving that are just as dangerous, such as changing the radio station, texting, eating, talking, reading, applying makeup, writing out checks, etc., but Google Glass is something that will be directly in eyesight, what makes anyone think that this would not be distracting. I feel that walking while wearing Google Glass will be hazardous, I would never trust anyone driving with them on.
    I am not going to lie, I do love technology, and I do not think I could live without some things that have only been around for a few years. Google Glass is a cool invention, and seems to be something that will become very useful, and will make people even more lazy than they are, but I also think they should come with safety guidelines. If people are more educated about the products they are using, I think they can be enjoyed more. If accidents and deaths arise because of the use of Google Glass, this invention would not even be worth it to me, because it would make me think of how easily something could have been prevented.

  5. Matthew Corrales April 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    When reading this article, I’ve only heard about this once in my communications class from a presentation one of my classmates had created. It had sparked some interest because of the features this had. It was like having a little tablet or electronic device that can act like an iPhone. At first it looked like something I would love to buy, but then thought to myself that this would be a distraction to all of us because just as phones it could be dangerous when driving because we would pay attention to it instead of what’s in front of us. It will become a safety hazard when driving.
    I think that West Virginia is making the right decision because they are protecting their citizens from getting into big accidents. Even though, google glass has not become a big thing yet, eventually it will so it’s a good idea that they take action before it becomes a thing. Your eyes should only be on the road viewing what’s in front of you when you’re driving because even with the slightest glimpse to the side or down may cause an accident. I think it’s important that google glasses and any other thing that could create distraction to be band when driving. It’s good to know that people are taking action to make these things banned. If one really needs to use these devices, they can pull over on the side of the road and make their call or send a text through phones or there google glasses.

  6. Virginia Kamper September 12, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    Google Glass is an amazing feat in the wearable technology field. However, I agree with the ban. I believe that this device should be treated like all the other technological devices and should be banned while driving. As many people have already stated, it is a distraction to the driver. When using Google Glass, the driver’s eyes are on the information being displayed in front of them, not on the road. A driver should be focused on the task in front of them because at any second something can happen. They can get cut off, the person in front of them could stop short, or a pedestrian could run into the street. A driver can miss all these events, which can happen at a blink of an eye, and won’t be able to react in time to prevent an accident. Someone who is driving a car should be cautious and aware at all times, and by using Google Glass, it takes this concentration away from them.
    Although I have already chosen my side on this case, I do agree with the usage of the GPS on Google Glass. The article did make a great point that for regular GPSs, the user would have to look down at the directions if it is on their phone or to the side if it is a GPS device on a stand. This, yet again, distracts the driver, but Google Glass is the “lesser of these evils”. The device allows the driver to look straight ahead at the road while reading directions, which is better than the other two options.
    The article had also mentioned about limiting specific applications on Google Glass while driving a certain speed. I still don’t think that any electronic devices should be used while driving, but if this guideline can be put into effect, I think I can accept it a little more. I actually think this guideline should go even further and only allow certain applications when in a car, everything else would be disabled. The allowable applications would be the GPS, calling for emergencies (911), and calling for roadside assistance. Even then, these applications should only be allowable up to a certain speed. In this way, people can still have this device for safety purposes, and limiting the distractions.

  7. Brittany Macdonald September 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

    I agree that there should be an amendment that bans Google Glasses. I feel that this will just be another distraction that drivers will have and a better chance that they will get into an accident. A driver of a vehicle should never be driving and using an electrical device. When using one it puts yourself and other innocent people in danger.

    Even though Google said they would have a system that can block certain information from coming up on the glasses such as YouTube while a person is driving, there are many technological savvy people that would be able to hack the system. This would make it very distracting and dangerous for people to use while operating a motor vehicle.

  8. KCollins November 11, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    The proposal to ban the use of a “wearable computer with head mounted display” for drivers in West Virginia is an important piece of legislation that should be passed and considered in all other states. Distracted driving is a large contributor to car accidents every year. According to distraction.gov, 3,154 deaths occurred due to accidents involving distracted drivers in 2013 and there were 424,000 injuries reported involving distracted driving incidents. We do not need these numbers to increase because people are paying more attention to what is on their Google Glass then what is on the road in front of them.
    The technologies that we have at our disposal today are great but should not be used at certain times. Driving is one of these times. Not only is a person risking their own life when they drive distracted, but also the lives of everyone else on the road. People need to realize that the decision to use their “wearable computers” or even their phones while driving effect more than just themselves. The wearable technology is only going to grow. It is important for legislation to be passed defining the parameters of the use for these products while driving before serious damage occurs.

  9. Nicholas B. November 15, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Google glasses are just another way drivers can become distracted while driving. West Virginia is attempting to ban the use of Google glasses along with any other head-mounted display while driving. It seems that every time a law is made about distracting driving there are already a new trend that is distracting drivers. As for the last set of laws such as no being on the phone while driving, all this leads to texting while driving being the next best thing. I see firsthand on my commute to college and to work the dangers of people who are distracted while they drive. Just the other day on the highway the car in front of me was drifting between two lanes and when I finally got a chance to pass him I noticed he was texting and driving. Accidents happen all the time because of distracting driving and new laws like West Virginia’s will hopefully help fix this problem. As for the one man who said these devices would be set to not work after a certain speed does not solve the problem. Just because they would stop working at say 25 mph that does mean someone still will not crash because of the low speeds. Cops need to become more in touch with the distracting driver laws and not only look for the fastest car on the road.

  10. Pauline Ybanez November 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm #

    It is interesting to see, although the Google glass has not full come out yet, it is already planning to be banned in West Virginia. Who knows how many other states in the U.S. will start following the trend? Texting and driving is one of the major issues in today’s society so the legislatures are just looking out for the future and halting the use of the Google glass before it makes any damages. Although I personally do not live in West Virginia as a couple of the other bloggers have mentioned and probably will not buy the expensive device, who knows who will and how many of them will be sold? I agree with the legislatures that the situation could become hazardous but in another sense, I feel as though the Google glass may be more efficient than the use of cellphones while driving. I know I would rather have my eyes still looking at the road ahead and the directions be right within my peripheral as opposed to me taking my eyes off the road to glance at my phone that is either on my lap or on the dashboard. Once the device comes out, society will have to see if it has positive or negative feedback.

  11. Jeffrey H November 15, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    I honestly thought that proposals like this would be made sooner. Google glasses would just be another distraction for drivers. I agree with Gary Howell in the article that information that is provided to a driver through the dashboard is information that is necessary to operate a vehicle. By having Google glass, a driver may be checking emails, watching videos, checking social media, all while go 60 mph on a highway. Accidents on the roadways take only a second to occur and taking that extra second to check and respond to an email raises many safety concerns. Texting and driving is still a huge problem among drivers although it is banned by many states. I also don’t believe that Google will be able to block certain information that comes up on the glasses while driving. There are many technology savvy people who would be able to get past the programs. Ad blocker already exists for computers and I have been using that program for a long while now. I personally feel that even walking while wearing google glass can be hazardous. Texting and walking is becoming a trend that is growing and has led to multiple pedestrian accidents. Now I love technology and I don’t think I would be able to live without it but I do believe that there needs to be guidelines in place to protect consumers and the general public.

  12. Maeve G November 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    The concept of Google Glass is just ridiculous. Not only are these glasses unnecessary, but they are dangerous as well! What is the point? Just like the new watches Apple recently came out with, these Google glasses are simply feeding off of the terrible idea that our society has become increasingly lazy. It is as if having basically all of the information in the world stored in our cell phones that are located in either our pockets or hands is no longer good enough. Consumers as sending an incredibly disturbing message. We need to have that same abundance of information on our wrists and now face because having it in our pockets or hands was just too inconvenient. This is all just sad.
    West Virginia has every right to ban the use of Google Glass while driving. The whole idea just doesn’t sit well with me. The fact that soon we will have to not only work about people texting and driving, but now wearing Google Glass while operating a motor vehicle is terrifying. I really hope more states act just as West Virginia has and take a stand against the use of this product at specific times. West Virginia is merely doing the logical thing in this situation by attempting to be proactive and prevent a detrimental trend within its borders.

  13. Isabella Lopreiato November 15, 2015 at 3:24 pm #

    I think that West Virginia had every right to ban the Goggle Glasses for drivers. Frankly, every state should use this as model and implement the same law. The glasses just adds to the definite distractions that technology creates for drivers. In fact all technology should be ban from being used in the car in order to limit the casualties associated with it. One way of going about doing so, having a sensors within all technology that disables usage once a person sits in the driver’s seat. This would help also disable many from turning to Bluetooth, as that tool is often used as loophole in the no cell phone law.

  14. Vicki T November 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I found this article really interesting because it shows how the laws are always adapting due to advances in technology. Legislators in West Virginia are proposing a new amendment that bans the use of Google Glass or any other head-mounted display while driving. It takes us back to when cell phones came into existence and we had to create laws specifically to diminish the use of phones while driving. While some may argue that it should not be banned because it is a hands free device, it can still be a huge source of distraction while doing something that requires all of your attention.

    It is hard to say whether or not this amendment will be successful. Some argue that it could be a safer alternative in some situations. For example, if a driver is using the Google Glass as a GPS, it is much safer to use that than to use a phone and constantly have to hold or look away from the road to check on it. I am not extremely familiar with the technology, but from what I have learned about it so far, I feel the technology has some perks, but would create more risky situations when it comes to using it while driving. These are people’s lives and loved ones who could be at risk and that is not something that should be taken lightly. I feel this is pretty similar to the texting and driving situation. However, it might be beneficial to do some more research on the topic since it is still very new and see what kind of impact it really has on a person’s driving.

  15. Bobby C November 15, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    There are many pros and cons to wearing this while driving. The GPS example used is a great instance where it would be ok to use, but on the other hand the GoogleGlass is much more than just a GPS and it will divert attention of the driver from the road to their heads-up display for a text message or an incoming call. People cannot multitask as well as they say they can and in order to help lower the amount of distracted driving accidents this is a step they may need to take.

  16. Nick Paugh February 13, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    I think it is a very good law to pass. When operating a motor vehicle, there are many things that can cause distractions to the driver. Actions such as changing the radio station, texting, making a phone call, eating, and many more are all things that alter the driver in driving with full awareness to the road. Google Glass is another distraction because it covers one eye with a glass lens, although it is see-thru, images appear on the screen and it can cause accidents.

    Laws are always adapting due to advances in technology. West Virginia has every right to ban the use of Google Glass while driving. The fact that soon we will have to not only work with people texting and driving but now wearing Google Glass while operating a motor vehicle is terrifying. People are not good at multitasking while driving and in order to help lower a number of distracted driving accidents, the amendment should be enforced.

  17. D.S. February 6, 2018 at 9:04 pm #

    As a current registered Google Glass Explorer, I could not agree more with the Legislators in West Virginia. Allowing people to wear Google Glass while driving a motor vehicle would be a huge mistake. With Google Glass, the company tried to get the technology “out of the way” and allow the user to focus in the real world without the need to constantly pull out their smartphone. Similar to a smartphone, when a user receives a notification on Glass, it is briefly displayed on the screen for a few seconds, allowing the user to quickly glance at it and take action. With that being said, using Glass while driving would be the equivalent to using a smartphone on the road, and would be heavily distracting to the driver. While driving, a user reading and responding to a notification on Glass could put the user and other lives at risk while they are behind the wheel.

    When I first set up my Google Glass Unit, I saw many warning labels in the box that inform the user “not to drive or operate machinery while wearing Google Glass”. In fact, Google has an entire website about the dangers of driving with Glass, recommending its users to use the car’s built-in GPS unit instead of Glass for driving directions and navigation.

    In conclusion, while Google Glass is an incredible feat in terms of wearable technology, Glass should never be used while driving.

  18. Zachary Corby February 8, 2018 at 1:53 am #

    even beginning to formulate an opinion on if it should be banned or not I had to do some research into what google glass actually is. Google glass is a head mounted gear in the form of glasses that is meant to display information like a smartphone would. The major key to remember here is that it is a hands free device that is activated by voice commands. Since it is hands free, it is in theory much like a Bluetooth device that could be used on the roads. Yet at the same time as you are, speaking different things are popping up through the glasses, which make it similar to a cell phone. In theory, it is much like the technology that fighters in military aircrafts use.
    In my personal opinion, I agree with the lawmakers of West Virginia wholeheartedly on their stance for using Google glass while driving. Technically the current law that is being drafted would allow for Google glass to be used while driving, but that is not for the best for anyone. People are still going to be distracted if they are using Google glass to drive. Using their voices, they are now able to bring up tons of different apps or links to the internet putting other drivers at risk. Any level of distraction for drivers in this day and age can lead to serious accidents on the roads that could have easily been avoided, and google glass will make people distracted. There is a reason that only people in that fly or drive military vehicles can use this equipment and it is because they are trained to do so. Citizens can easily just go an purchase this technology online or in a store and prop it on their heads and begin to play around with it with absolutely no training. As of right now, they could not even get in trouble for using it. New technology needs to be regulated and restricted at least at first for our own good.
    Google glass however is clearly the future and I believe that it should eventually be allowed on roads for drivers to use. There are a lot of great potential uses for it like navigation, music, and weather off the top of my head. Google glass should be able to create new types of helpful technology to aid drivers along roads that not even I can imagine. I believe that using google glass is much safer than using a smartphone because you do not have to take your eyes off the road. The potential is certainly there to get Google glass on roads, but it needs more time to be tested. There needs to be thorough research done on the effects it has on drivers on the road and if it is really safer. The company also has to step up and try and find ways to make it as safe as possible for regular use on roads. I really agree with the articles suggestions of disabling certain functions when a certain speed limit is hit. You should not be allowed to watch cat videos when you are sitting down in a chair and relaxing and when you are driving 70 miles per hour down a highway. Aside from that, display setting like brightness and display time could be adjusted to help drivers stay focused. Clearly, lawmakers are open to allowing this technology on the roads, and it can drastically improve the roads and the lives of people if the work is put into it. However if the work and research is not put into it, the technology will be endanger of failing because the developers could not adapt to the applications of it in the real world. In the next 20 years I fully expect to see Google glass become more of a commonplace on roads because I know it will be fine tuned for the people’s needs.

  19. Zachary Corby February 8, 2018 at 1:55 am #

    The article here talks about the banning of google glass from roads in West Virginia. Before even beginning to formulate an opinion on if it should be banned or not I had to do some research into what google glass actually is. Google glass is a head mounted gear in the form of glasses that is meant to display information like a smartphone would. The major key to remember here is that it is a hands free device that is activated by voice commands. Since it is hands free, it is in theory much like a Bluetooth device that could be used on the roads. Yet at the same time as you are, speaking different things are popping up through the glasses, which make it similar to a cell phone. In theory, it is much like the technology that fighters in military aircrafts use.
    In my personal opinion, I agree with the lawmakers of West Virginia wholeheartedly on their stance for using Google glass while driving. Technically the current law that is being drafted would allow for Google glass to be used while driving, but that is not for the best for anyone. People are still going to be distracted if they are using Google glass to drive. Using their voices, they are now able to bring up tons of different apps or links to the internet putting other drivers at risk. Any level of distraction for drivers in this day and age can lead to serious accidents on the roads that could have easily been avoided, and google glass will make people distracted. There is a reason that only people in that fly or drive military vehicles can use this equipment and it is because they are trained to do so. Citizens can easily just go an purchase this technology online or in a store and prop it on their heads and begin to play around with it with absolutely no training. As of right now, they could not even get in trouble for using it. New technology needs to be regulated and restricted at least at first for our own good.
    Google glass however is clearly the future and I believe that it should eventually be allowed on roads for drivers to use. There are a lot of great potential uses for it like navigation, music, and weather off the top of my head. Google glass should be able to create new types of helpful technology to aid drivers along roads that not even I can imagine. I believe that using google glass is much safer than using a smartphone because you do not have to take your eyes off the road. The potential is certainly there to get Google glass on roads, but it needs more time to be tested. There needs to be thorough research done on the effects it has on drivers on the road and if it is really safer. The company also has to step up and try and find ways to make it as safe as possible for regular use on roads. I really agree with the articles suggestions of disabling certain functions when a certain speed limit is hit. You should not be allowed to watch cat videos when you are sitting down in a chair and relaxing and when you are driving 70 miles per hour down a highway. Aside from that, display setting like brightness and display time could be adjusted to help drivers stay focused. Clearly, lawmakers are open to allowing this technology on the roads, and it can drastically improve the roads and the lives of people if the work is put into it. However if the work and research is not put into it, the technology will be endanger of failing because the developers could not adapt to the applications of it in the real world. In the next 20 years I fully expect to see Google glass become more of a commonplace on roads because I know it will be fine tuned for the people’s needs.

  20. Mawusimensah Mears February 8, 2018 at 6:04 pm #

    The Google Glass is a new piece of innovative technology, but with this new-fou d technology comes a responsibility to protect the lives and well-being of those who make use of it. I agree with the West Virginia state legislature when it comes to the regulation of the mounted head display while driving, but there shouldn’t be a complete ban on the Google Glass. This new technology could change the way we live and commute, therefore communication between Google and lawmakers is evident. The GPS function of this device could give ease to access while driving, but other functions of the google glass should not be utilized while behind the wheel.
    The constant glances that we take to look at the GPS on our phones could ultimately be the difference between life or death. The glass would be an alternative to having to take our eyes off the road. Not every car is equipped with a built-in GPS system and the law should take into account the possible factors that would make these glasses a positive experience for everyone.

  21. Keara P October 8, 2019 at 11:37 am #

    In West Virginia the proposal to ban “wearable computers with head mounted display” I think is something for other states to take notice of as soon as possible. This is an important piece of legislation as this would effect the lives of thousands of people on the roads throughout the state everyday, regardless if the device is in their car or not. The distraction these devices pose to drivers is extremely dangerous. If many states such as New Jersey, ban cellphones while driving, I think banning other types of the same device make sense as well. The large number of deaths and injuries that it posed back in 2013 alone is substantial and could most likely be reduced if there were stricter regulations. Banning a device like Google Glass means more drivers will be paying attention to their surrounding rather than what is going on with the device. I believe technology can definitely be beneficial but like most things there is a time and a place for it to be used, and that place is certainly not while driving a heavy machine like a car. Similar to drunk driving, a distracted driver is risking their life and others on the road when they are not paying attention to the road and their surroundings as driving is a fairly risky activity to begin with. While wearable technology is a growing trend, it is important that legislation keeps up with it as the wearables are affecting those who don’t even wear the technology. I think specifically designating and creating parameters for driving and using such technology is very much a push in the right direction and I’m glad West Virginia is taking the appropriate action.

  22. Samantha Russo October 9, 2019 at 12:49 pm #

    Before reading this article, I had to look up Google Glass and see what they actually do and look like from the inside. These Google Glass give me a Tony Stark type vibe when I first saw them. I could see them in a futuristic film where technology is everything to the people. But at the same time, it’s easy to see why these glasses would be distracting to anyone. These glasses are like a smartphone but hands-free and controlled using voice commands. I could understand why someone would find these useful when driving, like no longer having to look down to check your phone in your lap or having maps right in front of you but as someone who has to be on the road with people using these, I can definitely agree with West Virginia lawmakers that these glasses need to be banned when driving. These glasses are the equivalent to driving while staring at your phone. While I can understand why people may find them helpful when they are driving, I can’t help but think of how dangerous it would be to allow people to keep wearing them.
    Right now, Google is selling Google Enterprise Edition 2, which still looks like the old model from five years ago. They boast that it’ll help employees, “work smarter, faster, and safer.” I can see the appeal of using these glasses in a work area that may require them, but for now, I still don’t think they are safe enough to use on the road. The argument that I, and many others will make, that says these glasses are for navigation and safer than looking at your phone might be true, a majority of new cars on the market, and on the road today, have Apple CarPlay or navigation built right into the car. While it’s safer to look up and through these glasses then down at your phone, I still don’t see how any state could allow these on the roads. These glasses will definitely be a big part of the future and technology but for now, it’s still not safe enough for driving without being distracted.

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