Driving Under The Influence of Google Glass
Distracted driving has drawn the attention of lawmakers. Google Glass, the new product expected to be the next “big” thing, has been targeted as making us a nation of distracted drivers. People who have never seen, let alone used, Google Glass are prepared to ban the product and strengthen laws against distracted driving. The Ohio State Highway Patrol puts information about distracted driving on it’s website in a Distracted Driving Bulletin.
They cite the following statistic: In Ohio, there were 31,231 crashes that were caused by distracted driving from 2009 to 2011. This includes 74 fatal crashes and 7,825 injury crashes. Ohio is one of only 8 states that has no ban on texting while driving. Currently, 35 states have banned texting for all drivers and another 7 states have partial bans (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). You should expect Ohio to address these issues with bans on texting while driving and possible restrictions on technology inside your car.
CNET contributor and former Mashable editor Ben Parr argues that using Google Glass shouldn’t be banned from our highways. His article describes his own experiment with Google Glass as he drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Which brings me to the crux of the argument against Glass while driving — the screen does, in fact, take your eyes off the road, which is absolutely dangerous. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is dangerous, though. This includes your friend in the passenger seat and especially your smartphone.
Does this mean Glass should be banned from the road? I don’t think so, because the alternative — looking down to check your phone or send a text — is far more dangerous. You don’t have to look away from the road to send a text from Glass — everything is done via voice dictation. The same is true of phone calls, emails, and even Google searches.
I rarely looked up during my six-hour trip from L.A. to S.F. It wasn’t a constant distraction on the road. It actually makes for a decent hands-free voice device. I didn’t have to touch my phone at all while I was driving, and that is a good thing.
Is driving under the influence of Glass dangerous? Not if it’s used responsibly. But like any other gadget, people will abuse it. Still, it’s a far better alternative to picking up your smartphone. Politicians should compare using Glass versus using a smartphone on the road before prematurely banning the device on our highways.
His article is a common-sense, yet contrarian, comment in a sea of uninformed articles about the coming wave of distracted driving accidents. As with all new technology, we will have a period of adjustment. Another article that relies upon actual experience with Google Glass says that it may make your driving experience safer. Sean Hollister was given the opportunity to beta test the device in his car, and wrote an article for Verve. He writes, “when I’m in the driver’s seat, Google Glass is exactly the kind of tool I want. I’m looking for a hands-free device that can show and tell me things that I need to know, before I reach my destination.”
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