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Google Glass: The New Distraction for Drivers?

In the first case of its kind, a woman in California was pulled over on October 29, 2013, for speeding and issued an additional citation for driving while wearing her Google Glass. While Cecilia Abadie, the driver, does not dispute the speeding ticket, she disagrees with the application of the distracted driver law to her wearing of the Google Glass. She also maintains that the device was not even on when she was pulled over.

The law cited by the officer in the Abadie case was meant to prohibit people from watching television while driving. The law bans TVs and similar monitors from being turned on and facing the driver. But, GPS, mapping tools, and screens that display camera feeds to help the driver navigate are considered safety features that are approved for use while driving. Some argue that Google Glass would be a safer form of information delivery these more traditional forms where a driver must take their eyes off the road.

State laws typically lag behind technology, as was the case with the texting while driving issue. It took some states years to enact laws against what had become an epidemic distraction among drivers, and even longer for those laws to be consistently enforced. Now that Distracted Driving laws are getting attention and enforcement, the challenge will be to keep laws current with ever evolving technology.

Google itself has no specific guidelines regarding the use of Google Glass while driving, other than urging users to check with local traffic laws and to, "use Glass responsibly and put their safety and the safety of others first." Delaware and West Virginia legislatures have introduced bills that would treat Google Glass like smart phones and other devices typically covered by distracted driving laws. In Georgia, one state police officer has issued more than 800 tickets already in 2013 for the use of "communications" devices while driving--including apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps on a smartphone. GPS-only devices are legal, however, even though they are arguably just as, if not more, distracting to a driver.

Distracted driving is a huge cause of car accidents. The amount of technology available to place in cars, as well as mobile technology, is growing every day. As a society, we need to use technology to help us drive safely, not cause dangerous and sometimes fatal distractions. If you have questions about what is legal to use in your car while driving, see the Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation.

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