Sparsely populated Wyoming, whose natural beauty draws tourists from
around the globe, is among a small number of U.S. states eyeing a ban on
the use of wearable computers while driving, a move that appears to
target Google Glass.
Wyoming state Senator Floyd Esquibel, a Democrat
who crafted the bill to ban such devices behind the wheel, said he
wanted to ensure safeguards are in place before the technology premiered
by Google - a tiny computer mounted to an eyeglass frame - is widely
"Common sense would tell you that you really don't need
to look at a little computer while driving, that it endangers you, your
passengers and other drivers," he said of the bill he introduced this
month. The legislature will convene to consider new bills in February.
is among at least seven U.S. states eyeing restrictions on the
technology over concerns that drivers wearing Google Glass may pay more
attention to their email or other online endeavors than the road.
states considering measures that would ban use of wearable computers
while driving are Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and
West Virginia, according to the National Conference of State
Google Glass, which projects a small screen above a
corner of a wearer's eye, is expected to become a major catalyst for
what many believe to be the next big trend in mobile, wearable computing
But in a high-profile California case that raised new
questions about distracted driving, one of thousands of people testing
Google Glass was ticketed for wearing the device while driving after
being stopped for speeding in October.
(Also see: Woman ticketed for driving with Google Glass, called a distraction by police)
Cecilia Abadie later got
her ticket, for using a "visual" monitor in her car while driving,
thrown out because of a lack of proof the device was operating at the
time. Her speeding ticket was also dismissed.
(Also see: California woman defends her use of Google Glass while driving)
case nevertheless renewed debate about distracted driving, which was
linked to car crashes that caused injuries to an estimated 421,000
people in the United States in 2012, up 9 percent from 2011, according
to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
member of a state Senate transportation panel, successfully pushed in
2010 for Wyoming to outlaw driver texting, which is already banned in
most states. Some states also ban the use of handheld mobile phones
He said the proposed ban on the use of wearable
computers while driving faces an uncertain fate in a Republican-led
legislature in a state known for its ambivalence toward government
In information about Glass posted online by Google,
the company advises those engaged in field tests - dubbed Explorers - to
abide by state laws that limit use of mobile devices while driving.
all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others
by failing to pay attention to the road," the company says.
Wednesday about legislation restricting use of devices like Glass,
Google said Explorers should use the device responsibly and put safety
first: "Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you,
not distract you from it."
U.S. travel group AAA said it has "serious concerns about the safety elements of these technologies" on the road.
feeling and perspective is that safety should take the greater priority
over convenience when it comes to using personal electronic technology,
particularly when driving," AAA spokeswoman Nancy White said.
© Thomson Reuters 2014