Recently covered by the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois state Senator Ira Silverstein filed legislation last week that would bar drivers from getting behind the wheel while wearing Google Glass. While Google Glass still isn’t available to the public yet, this early legislation matches similar proposals pitched by lawmakers in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia. If the legislation passes, the law that would allow police to ticket motorists that refuse to take off the advanced hardware while driving, very similar to ticketing drivers that use their smartphone to text while driving.
Speaking about the proposed legislation, Silverstein said “It’s just another way people will be distracted. People’s attention to the road should not be interrupted.” If passed, the measure would simply be added to an existing state law that bans the use of cellular phones unless using hands-free technology. While the Google Glass is technically hands free, the visual display could certainly interfere with a driver’s attention while on the road.
At the moment, the only Illinois law that would regulate Google Glass usage in cars is related to operating a motor vehicle while watching a video monitor. That law forbids drivers from watching entertainment, like movies and television shows, on a video display while driving. However, the display can show the driver information about the automobile’s performance, GPS-enabled directions within mapping software and the feed from a rear-mounted camera.
Hypothetically, Google Glass could display any of this information while driving and potentially enhance the driving experience. As a potential solution to appease lawmakers, Google could create some form of driving mode for Google Glass that locks out other distracting applications from use while operating a vehicle. However, it would likely be up to the driver to activate this mode before entering the vehicle.
On the Google Glass FAQ page, Google cautions Glass owners about wearing the hardware while behind the wheel, Specially, Google states “As you probably know, most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites. Read up and follow the law! Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.”