March 25, 2013
West Virginia May Pass Driver Ban On Google Glass Ahead Of Availability
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Though they´re not yet available, Google Glass glasses have started up quite a few interesting conversations about the future of tech, privacy and safety. Now, one West Virginia lawmaker wants to preemptively make it illegal to wear Glass and drive, the first proposed bill of its kind.
As the first such bill, the idea may sound as outlandish as the Five Point bar in Seattle banning customers from wearing the futuristic specs. Yet, according to the bill´s sponsor, Gary G. Howell, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature, this bill is more akin to anti-texting and driving measures, suggesting Glass could be a distraction.
Howell said he decided to draw up this bill after reading an article about Google Glass on Cnet.com. Cnet´s Technically Incorrect writer Chris Matyszczyk reached out to Howell to ask about his intentions with this bill.
“I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law,” explained Howell in his interview with Matyszczyk.
“It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things. They are also our most vulnerable and underskilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension.”
Noting that he considers himself a Libertarian, Howell says every person has a duty to make sure their choices aren´t hurting those around them.
“When I choose to use the Google Glass and cross the center-line of the road because I'm reading a text, then my actions affect someone else,” said Howell.
This bill would essentially consider the use of Glass the same as texting, an offense which results in a fine of $100. The second and third offenses, however, get gradually more expensive at $200 and $300, respectively.
Google Glass is one of those products which is so futuristic an unlike anything before that it´s causing many people to question their merit as well as any possible repercussions.
As noted by The Verge´s Joshua Topolsky, the video recording function is the feature which everyone will love using. This function is also seen as the creepiest of all. Wearers can begin recording a video with their voice or a few taps of the earpiece. While a red light is present on the device when it is recording, many may not realize that the wearer is recording a video of their surroundings with Glass. This functionality has already sent the Five Point Bar in Seattle to ban Glass, even though it´s yet to be released to the public.
Dave Meinert, owner of The Five Point Bar, has said he mostly decided on this ban as a way to earn some publicity. Yet, he has also said that he is quite serious about the ban and plans to ask people to leave if he sees them sporting Glass in his bar.
Google is prepared in case more state legislators decide to ban Glass behind the wheel with another pet project: their own line of driverless cars.