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• States have also banned drivers from watching videos in front of them, but the language in the statutes is too outdated to apply to Google Glass, says Gershowitz.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.”