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West Virginia Introduces Legislation To Ban Google-Glassing-And-Driving

Submitted by on March 24, 2013 – 9:31 am2 Comments

A West Virginia lawmaker has introduced legislation to outlaw the use of Google Glass while driving an automobile. The proposed law is another prohibition meeting the device amid concerns before it has even been released.

Rep. Gary G. Howell of the West Virginia Legislature added language to a pre-existing anti-distracted-driving bill (texting and talking on cell phones) that would outlaw using “a wearable computer with head mounted display” while operating a motor vehicle. Reportedly, he was inspired to make the addition by an article on popular blog CNET by Chris Matyszczyk.

Howell, a self-described libertarian, explained that he thinks it is permissible for the government to “make sure [you] don’t injure or kill someone” when your “actions [can] affect someone else.”

(Wait, my actions can affect other people, and the government can get involved?! Shocking. Sounds like communism to me!)

Supporters of Google Glass say Howell is much too quick to ban technology that isn’t even available yet, before he can properly understand it and how it could be adapted to be safe on the roads.

Indeed, Howell’s bill allows the use of hands-free devices, and Google Glass could be hands-free (if you refrain from navigating the menu while driving). And by allowing the user to maintain eyesight on the road, it might be safer than other GPS devices.

Matyszczyk also wonders where West Virginia teens will get the $1,500 for the device.

On the other hand, I certainly sympathize with Howell when he worries about “young and tech-saavy” drivers (like teens) who are also the “most vulnerable and underskilled.” Even for more experienced drivers, research seems to have proved solidly that humans can’t really multitask. Also, though this bill may be a mistake, I think it is commendable that a lawmaker has any awareness of new technology and its possible effects on his constituents.

Finally, why must  every new piece of technology be greeted by its own unique reminder (and pre-movie announcment, ahem) that yes, you have to turn it off sometimes?

Howell is not the first person to express concerns about Google Glass. A bar in Seattle became the first establishment to preemptively ban the device, due to privacy concerns.

What do you think about the early restrictions on Google Glass?

[via CNET]

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