Google Lobbies to Keep Glass Legal on the HighwayBy: Josh Wolford - February 25, 2014
In news that can’t come as much of a surprise, Google has begun to throw its mighty weight around to halt state legislation that would cripple or even totally ban the use of Google Glass while driving.
Reuters reports that Google is currently lobbying officials in at least three states where anti-Google Glass legislation has sprung up, including Illinois, Delaware, and Missouri. Lawmakers in those states are concerned about distracted driving, and feel that Google’s burgeoning technology could have a negative impact on highway safety.
Similar legislation has also been proposed in New York, West Virginia, Maryland, Wyoming, and New Jersey–but there’s been no confirmation that Google has descended upon lawmakers in those states. Yet. If they’re not there already, you better believe that it’s only a matter of time.
Reuters cites lobbying disclosure records and anonymous inquiries.
So far, we’ve only seen one case reach the public eye concerning driving while wearing Google Glass. Earlier this year, a California woman was ticketed for operating a motor vehicle while donning Google’s wearable tech. Though there was no law on the books specifically banning Google Glass, the officer cited a vague statute that says “a person shall not drive a motor vehicle” where a “display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.” The law is clearly outdated, as it only references television receivers and video monitors.
That woman took her case to court and had her ticket dismissed. It’s important to note that the court made no inferences about the actual legality of driving with Google Glass–they simply had to let it go because there was no proof that she was actually operating her Google Glass when the car was in motion.
Still, the case made headlines and even inspired some of the aforementioned legislation.
“The recent case in California where a woman was ticketed for distracted driving because she was wearing ‘Google Glasses’ while driving highlights the need for legislation to expressly prohibit the use of this extremely dangerous technology. I will continue to fight to keep our highways safe as I have done for many years,” said Felix Ortiz, who sponsored an anti-Glass-while-driving bill in New York.
For now, all Google can do is warn users that each state has their own laws and regulations on mobile devices.
“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. Explorers should 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. The same goes for bicycling: whether or not any laws limit your use of Glass, always be careful,” they say in a FAQ section on Glass.
Of course, Google Glass may or may not fall into that category. Though some lawmakers may just be looking to clarify the laws, Google is most definitely concerned that their tech, by far the most-visible of the bunch, will becomes a legislative scapegoat.
Image via YouTube