Seven US states are looking into banning wearable computers like Google Glass while driving, shortly after a high-profile court case in California where a Glasshole got off scot-free.
Cecilia Abadie was stopped and cited for wearing her Google Glass but was later let off the ticket because of a lack of proof that the specs were operating at the time.
But the case clearly raised the issue for lawmakers, who have been introducing bills to see the devices banned from use behind the wheel. Wyoming Senator Floyd Esquibel and Missouri Representative Don Gosen are the latest to put forward legislation to have "wearable computers" prohibited while driving, with bills put forward this month.
“The sooner we start looking at the implications and the concerns, the better,” Esquibel told the Billings Gazette after introducing the bill.
“Too often the law is years behind technology and we have to catch up. So with this maybe we wouldn’t be too far behind.”
Wyoming and Missouri's proposed prohibitions follow bills from Illinois, Delaware, West Virginia, New York and New Jersey. New bills are due to be considered next month.
Google Glass is currently only available to field testers known as "Explorers" and the firm's advice for these early adopters does include admonishments to obey state laws on using mobile devices in cars.
"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. Read up and follow the law!" Google Glass' support pages read.
"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."
The problem for police trying to enforce any laws that may be enacted on head-mounted displays like Google Glass was amply demonstrated by the Abadie case in California. Abadie said that she wore her Glass all the time, even when it wasn't turned on, so the judge dismissed the ticket against her.
It may seem odd to wear the tech specs all the time, but now that Google has introduced the possibility of prescription lenses for them, it could become quite common with no way to tell if the high-tech part of the specs is on or off. ®