Google glasses are now a reality. For those who don't know, Google Glass are glasses that are a head-mounted computer that allows you to do many functions hands-free with voice commands. You can use internet, take photos and video, get directions, send a message, obtain weather and flight information, and even use a Google+ hang out.
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In anticipation of Google Glass being made available to consumers, a politician in West Virginia proposed legislation that would ban the use of Google Glass while driving. The legislative proposal by West Virginia Republican Gary Howell would make it against the law to use a "wearable computer with head-mounted display" while operating a motor vehicle.
While Mr. Howell has been credited with a statement in an article published by CNET that makes it clear that he likes the idea of Google Glass. “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," Howell said. "It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and under-skilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."
Mr. Howell added, “I am a libertarian, and government has no business protecting us from ourselves, but it does have a duty to make sure I don't injure or kill someone else.”
A spokesperson from Google responded that a lot of thought went into the design of Google Glass. “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.”
The glasses are supposed to have many features to increase safety and reduce accidents. Google Glass has safety-enhancing features like spoken turn-by-turn instructions that could be alternatives to dashboard-mounted units that take the driver's eyes off the road. It could also be integrated with a car's own heads-up display. Glass is supposed to be there when you need it, and hidden when you don't. The actual display is above your field of view, near the sun visor, as if you were in a driver's seat. And it also has voice commands.
Texting and driving is against the law in the cities of Phoenix and Tucson in the state of Arizona. Yet, a high percentage of teenagers, across the country, admit that they still text and drive. And, texting laws are very hard to enforce. With the new Google technology, the potential is there for a teenage driver who could send a text without taking his or her eyes off the road. A reduction in accidents and fatalities related to texting would be a positive development.
At some point, this technological development should be tested regarding safety issues in an effort to determine if it would make our roads safer.
The first driver ever to be ticketed for Google Glass use behind the wheel has won her court appeal in the state of California and the fine was overturned. In the end what helped the ticketed driver prevail was a mere technicality. Bottom line, it's still unclear if driving while operating Google's experimental head-mounted computer is legal in the state of California.
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