New York Lawmaker Pushes for Google Glass Ban for Drivers

    January 14, 2014
    Josh Wolford
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If Brooklyn Assemblyman Félix Ortiz has is way, New York highways will be a Google Glass-free zone.

The Democrat has introduced legislation to ban the use of Google Glass for those operating a motor vehicle. It would be a expansion upon the state’s current handheld cellphone ban and Ortiz says that it is part of his “crusade for public safety.”

Back in October of last year, a California woman was ticketed for “driving while Google Glassing” – or more specifically “driving with a monitor visible.” Her story went viral when she posted a copy of the citation to her Google+ profile.

Ortiz actually mentioned the California woman’s case in a release.

“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 Ortiz.

Ortiz is alluding to previous legislation that he sponsored – a 2000 bill that banned the use of all types of handheld cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. When that bill became law, it was the first such outright ban on cellphones in the nation. As you know, many states followed suit.

“‘Google Glasses’ are becoming more and more popular and their use across the country is becoming widespread, however, no state currently has a strict prohibition on their use while driving,” said Ortiz.

But that may change – and soon. There are now 7 states that have introduced bills to limit or fully ban Google Glass use while operating a motor vehicle – the latest coming in Wyoming and Missouri.

Google’s response to the question of “driving while glassing” is a bit vague – simply telling users to respect local laws.

“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.

As of today, Google Glass has yet to receive a wide release and is still in testing mode with Google’s “Glass Explorers” program. By the time Google decides to release the wearable tech to the masses, there may already be a few laws on the books prohibiting its use.

h/t Gothamist
Image via lawrencegs, Flickr

  • http://www.DriveSafeForGlass.com Jake Steinerman

    Has Mr. Ortiz ever tried on Google Glass for himself? Has he ever tried driving with it? If not, I find it discouraging that he’s trying to ban something he knows nothing/very little about.

    As a Google Glass Explorer, and someone who frequently drives with Glass to get directions, take phone calls and respond to text messages completely hands and eyes free, I find Glass much less distracting than my smartphone or standalone GPS devices. Glass is positioned in the upper right of my field of view, completely out of my line of site. The screen is off almost all the time, even when you get notifications, so I frequently forget I’m even wearing it.

    I also put a team together to develop an app for Glass called “DriveSafe” (www.DriveSafeForGlass.com) that uses the sensors on Glass to detect if you’re falling asleep at the wheel. It alerts you to your drowsy state, and then can give you directions to the nearest rest area. Proof that Google Glass can actually help people behind the wheel, not hurt them.

    I encourage Mr. Ortiz to accept a demo of Google Glass before making judgements and working on enacting legislation to ban a device that can be used to make driving safer.