Professor Says Proposed Google Glass Driving Bans Are ‘Unenforceable’

At least eight states have intro­duced bills that would restrict the use of Google Glass while dri­ving. But the pro­posed mea­sures tar­get­ing the company’s hi-tech spec­ta­cles have stalled, fail­ing to clear a sin­gle cham­ber.

But even if the bills gained trac­tion, they would be “prac­ti­cal­ly unen­force­able,” accord­ing to a new research paper by William & Mary law pro­fes­sor Adam Ger­showitz, who sug­gests his own leg­isla­tive solu­tion.

The professor’s paper lays out an alter­na­tive approach that he says would clear­ly ban dri­vers from wear­ing Google Glass on the road while also antic­i­pat­ing oth­er types of wear­able tech­nol­o­gy enter­ing the mar­ket.

• More than 40 states have tex­ting-while-dri­ving laws on the books, most of which exempt hands-free devices.
• States have also banned dri­vers from watch­ing videos in front of them, but the lan­guage in the statutes is too out­dat­ed to apply to Google Glass, says  Ger­showitz.
• Leg­is­la­tors in Mary­land, Illi­nois, Delaware, New Jer­sey, Wyoming, New York, Mis­souri and West Vir­ginia have sought to close that legal gap.
• Their bills would apply specif­i­cal­ly to “head-mount­ed” elec­tron­ic devices.

Instead, he sug­gests an all-encom­pass­ing two-part bill that would ban a per­son from oper­at­ing a vehi­cle “while wear­ing a wire­less elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion device” or “while using a wire­less elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion device.”

Google Glass, which is still in the pro­to­type stage, could even­tu­al­ly come with ‘dri­ve mode’ fea­tures designed to assist — not dis­tract — peo­ple behind the wheel. The glass­es, for instance, could direct motorists or alert them to obsta­cles in their path. A pro­gram­mer has already devel­oped a Glass appli­ca­tion that detects if a dri­ver is doz­ing off and wakes the per­son up.

“Glass is built to con­nect you more with the world around you, not dis­tract you from it,” a Google spokesman told Law Blog. Glass wear­ers, he said, “should always use Glass legal­ly and respon­si­bly and put their safe­ty and the safe­ty of oth­ers first.”

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