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States are worried about distracted driving

Google Glass isn't widely available to consumers yet, but it's already causing quite a stir as certain U.S. states begin contemplating laws that restrict their use on the road. In response, Google is putting its lobbying face on.
 
According to Reuters, around eight U.S. states are considering laws that would ban Google Glass from use while driving. In Illinois, Delaware and Missouri, Google has already sent lobbyists to try and defend its latest wearable gadget. 
 
Other states like New York, Maryland and West Virginia are looking into anti-Glass legislation as well, but said Google hasn't contacted them yet. The remaining two states -- New Jersey and Wyoming -- haven't said much regarding their potential Glass regulations or whether they were contacted by Google or not. 
 
Many state leaders worry that Glass, which is a pair of smart glasses with a tiny screen on the lens for accessing the Web and other information as well as communication, could distract drivers and cause accidents on the road. 
 
Distracted driving has been a serious discussion recently. In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released distracted driving guidelines -- which were issued by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) -- with recommendations on how and when a driver should interact with certain electronic devices. The recommendations relate to the findings of an NHTSA naturalistic driving study called "The Impact of Hand-Held and Hands-Free Cell Phone Use on Driving Performance and Safety Critical Event Risk."


[SOURCE: Digital Trends]

NHTSA will release two more sets of guidelines for distracted driving in the future: Phase 2, which will cover portable electronic devices brought into vehicles, and Phase 3, which will cover voice recognition systems in cars. 

However, Google defended Glass saying that it isn't widely deployed yet, so now would be too soon to introduce any sort of legislation on its use.

Google is currently introducing Glass via the Glass Explorer program, where users apply for a pair, and if accepted by Google, pay a hefty fee of $1,500 to try them out ahead of everyone else. 

But Glass has already proved to be troublesome on the road. For instance, a California woman landed a ticket for wearing the glasses while driving. She later managed to beat the ticket, but it shows that there is no clear understanding of how these devices should be used on the road, and could cause confusion between users, police officers and courts in the future. 

Google has been trying to clean up Glass wearers' acts with efforts such as a guide it released for those in the Glass Explorer program. It contained a list of do's and don'ts when wearing Glass during the program. 

Glass seems to be making headway in some areas, such as recent adoption by the NYPD and Virgin Atlantic, but anti-Glass legislation by states could certainly hurt Google's vision for its new glasses, and it seems ready to fight. 

Source: Reuters





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