U.K. Eyes Ban on Driving With Google Glass

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The U.K. government is reportedly taking steps to ban Google Glass behind the wheel.

According to U.K.-based Stuff, the Department of Transport (DfT) has moved to outlaw the use of Google Glass while operating a motor vehicle, even before the spectacles become available to the general public.

“We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving,” a DfT spokesman told the site. “It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road.”

The DfT did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment, but told Stuff that a range of penalties already in place to curb careless driving will become a fixed penalty offense later this year. In 2003, the country outlawed the use of hand-held devices while riding a motorcycle or driving a car — a move that has seen more than a million drivers convicted in the 10 years since, Stuff said.

Google Glass could certainly be handy for following navigation or perhaps searching for local gas stations or restaurants without fiddling with a separate GPS system or a cell phone. But the U.K. government is focused on a safety-first approach: Get caught wearing the headset while driving and you could incur a £60 ($91) fine and three points on your license.

“It’s early days and we are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues,” a Google spokesman said in an emailed statement. “Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.”

The ban, as Stuff pointed out, would also thwart technologies like the U.S.’s Glass Tesla, which gives Glass owners the ability to control various functions of their Tesla vehicle directly from the futuristic specs.

A similar measure was introduced in the West Virginia legislature, which would have prohibited the use of head-mounted gadgets while driving. The bill, which did not see any action, would have updated an existing law regarding texting and talking while driving.

For more, check out Google Glass: Everything You Need to Know.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 11:50 a.m. Eastern with comment from Google.

By Stephanie Mlot, PCMag


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