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We've all heard about Google Glass, we've all seen it, we all know (vaguely) what it's capable of doing. And that has encouraged one state legislator in West Virginia to propose banning Google Glass for drivers long before the device goes on sale.
Like many Americans, Republican Gary G. Howell has seen the video clips and news reports about Google Glass, which is due to hit stores in the last quarter of 2013. Also like many of us, he's very, very intrigued -- and very worried about the effect such a device could have on drivers.
And so, Howell has introduced legislation that would add Google Glass -- and all other head-mounted displays -- to the list of devices that are prohibited behind the wheel. The first offense would carry a fine of $100, with subsequent fines increasing by $100, up to $300.
Interestingly, the bill contains exceptions for folks reporting accidents or other emergencies and for first-responders. Howell and his three co-sponsors clearly recognize that there may be important future applications for this kind of technology.
That's because they fully appreciate Google Glass' groundbreaking possibilities. Howell told the folks at Cnet: "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.... We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension."
We freely admit that we're big fans of tech. In fact, we'd wager that one or two of us will be early adopters of Google Glass. It looks to be an amazing, fantastically disruptive device.
But holy samolians, we cannot imagine using Google Glass behind the wheel. Just think of how distracting cell phones can be. Now imagine having a cell phone screen embedded in your eyeglasses -- eyeglasses that you can't legally take off while driving because your natural eyesight ranks somewhere between that of a cave bat and a mole.
Legislatures across the country are going to have to deal with the distraction potential inherent to Google Glass and other wearable gadgets very, very soon. Those that don't get ahead of the issue will be scrambling to catch up, leaving the public confused in the interim. Howell and his colleagues' pro-active stance is a-okay in our book.