The controversial product that isn’t even on the market yet is in the news again as Google lobbies states not to outlaw the use of its wearable technology, Glass, while driving. Many states, including New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, and Illinois, have been working to enact legislation against its use in an effort to reduce incidents of distracted driving. Now Google has jumped into the fray in an attempt to stop it from happening.
According to Reuters and the blog Tech Crunch, "Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states (Illinois, Delaware and Missouri) to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass.”
Google obviously sees this effort by states as a threat to its product, upon launch, and is doing something about it. This is certainly understandable in the face of attitudes like that of one New York lawmaker, who called Glass “extremely dangerous technology.”
There is still quite a bit of debate over what activities during driving are distracting, but anything that takes visual focus off the road, such as with Google Glass, is still a problem. Ironically enough, efforts are being made to have Glass help make drivers safer. An app under development called DriveSafe would alert drivers when they start dozing off at the wheel.
In drafting their legislation, states need to use language that is broad enough to include any and all distractions that could result in unsafe driving, while at the same time not give too much authority to the police and the courts over our personal use of technology when it does not interfere with safety.
In this context, Google should be a part of this dialog, not protecting its product. They set forth in a statement to the media, “We think it is important to be part of [these] discussions.” Well, if that is the case, then they should all about the wording of the proposed laws and how they define distracted driving, not working to keep out of said laws a particular product.
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