back to article West Virginia seeks Google Glass driving ban

The next time Sergey Brin visits West Virginia, he'd better think twice before getting behind the wheel. Lawmakers in that state have proposed a new law banning the use of Google Glass and similar headsets while driving. "The problem with [Glass] – and this might not be the right term – is that it's an open architecture," …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

As usual, the first reaction is to ban what you don't understand. The bottom line is, it's being banned while driving basically because "people can do whatever they want with it" (i.e. there's nothing stopping them from watching videos while driving instead of just wearing it so you can say "take a picture" when you see something you want to capture)

Google Glass does not obstruct your entire field of vision, either.

Fucking fearful, overbearing, reactionary Yanks. I'll bet the judge they get to approve the new law is so old he's got cobwebs on his arse.

Ban the behaviour, not the device or act. For example, it's not specifically illegal to eat while driving. Common sense dictates that you wouldn't eat a big messy two handed meal that's going to take your attention, while trying to steer with your knees. If you do, well there are charges for "distracted driving" that don't cover a specific act.

6
18
Silver badge

Bah!

It's not illegal to fit center-of-the-dash GUI screens in cars either. I dig about three young drivers a year out of my front garden as a result. Last week I lucked out when the f-tard was going the other way and took out my neighbour's power pole, fencing and two of his cars which he'd had the nerve to park in his own driveway. I never saw so many airbags inflated in one accident scene.

And as for common sense, nowhere on the driving test for any of the places I hold a license (which would be the UK and New York) is "common sense" required or tested for. As a result I've seen plenty of lack of same hurtling along the M6 and the LIE. The best one in recent memory was a bloke with a sandwich in one hand, a coffee in the other and a bedsheet newspaper unfolded across the steering wheel. I can only assume he was steering "John Candy style" with his thighs. And who here has never seen some dolt speeding along and texting?

And the behaviour is what is being banned. Specifically the behaviour of driving while wearing these ridiculous things. No-one is saying you can't have a pair of spaz-spex in your glove compartment.

7
1
Anonymous Coward

Sorry but your eyes should be on the bloody road. Anything that distracts you and your vision is bad news.

Cars are 2 tonnes of death in the wrong hands and do you not think that the 4,000 lives lost each year in the UK alone is a great statistic? that's not even including cyclists and pedestrians.

Technology has a place and it isn't on your head while you drive. Google should be more proactive in ensuring these things can't be used while doing anything that requires concentration.

17
0
Anonymous Coward

Do they come with prescription lenses?

However they guy is correct, last year a Polish lorry driver killed a motorist while watching a video while he was driving his HGV. There are some idiots that like to mock the proposed legislation but just ask Lord Ahmed about the time he killed a motorist because he had been texting while driving, he got off lightly because the couldn't prove he was texting at the time.

So if, and it is likely, someone driving round with a pair of these on drives straight into someone you care for, how would you feel.

Me I'd be the first person in the world to kill someone with their own Google glasses, let the jury convict me of that rage.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Have you seen the idiots who mount their sat navs right in front of them in the middle of the windscreen exactly in their eye line, probably thinking they are fighter pilots.

That distraction is bad enough, but for anyone to say, 'they ban what they don't understand' beggars belief.

They probably have an over-inflated view of their own skills at the wheel. I've seen them come, I've seen them go... Down.

11
1

Re: Bah!

You made my point for me. None of those things you are exaggerating about are illegal (perhaps texting while driving is in your area), yet they have the potential to be far more dangerous than the simple act of wearing one of these visors. It's what you do with the thing that makes it dangerous. Certainly no more dangerous than someone fooling around with their GPS devices (dash mounted GUI screens), which are not banned while driving. The behaviour of distracted driving is, regardless of the objects involved.

It comes down to free will... at least for those who are capable of thinking for themselves.

They are banning a potentially useful device without much consideration of how people will use it. Automatically, it's videos ("cat videos" as the example) because that's what the small minded twats associate with Google.

5
12
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Cars are 2 tonnes of death in the wrong hands and do you not think that the 4,000 lives lost each year in the UK alone is a great statistic? that's not even including cyclists and pedestrians.

The 4000/year does include cyclists and pedestrians, but you're absolutely right in principle. War on terror? Where is the war on car traffic?

6
1
Silver badge
Thumb Up

@Larry F54

"Where is the war on car traffic?"

A good question. I recall when there was the rail accidents at Potters Bar and people were saying "Ooh, I won't go on trains again", completely failing to realise that there was the equivalent of a Potters Bar *every two days* on the roads!

It's already been proven repeatedly that using a mobile device at the wheel is as dangerous as driving whilst at the legal blood alcohol limit, so, in this country at least, it should already be covered under existing legislation if only we had enough Police on the roads to actually *enforce* those laws...

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Bah! @Grogan

A driver isn't a trained fighter pilot. Imagine while driving, phone rings, immediately a picture appears in your line of vision, your mummy calls you, your eyes focus on the picture, mummy asks you want for tea, just as a text appears on the screen from a news feed,, you are about to answer your mummy and read the news feed BANG!

You get out of your car and you find that you have killed a child.

'Your Honour, it wasn't my fault, no I wasn't distracted at all, I can drive and talk and text all at the same time..'

'5 years, take him down'.

Believe me that would be a picnic if it were my child.

4
0
Silver badge

"Sorry but your eyes should be on the bloody road. Anything that distracts you and your vision is bad news."

What about the glasses showing your speed? Vehicle warnings? Your dash already requires you to take your eyes off the road to read them now

5
3

Ground control calling

Ground control calling the 20th century... people have been using GPS units for a long long time. And who is to say that Google Glass isn't a safer way to access GPS than something stuck to your windscreen? Certainly not this lunatic idiot politician who by his own admission never used Google glass. So because someone COULD watch a cat video, we are going to ban a technology that might actually IMPROVE safety? What a clown.

3
5
Bronze badge

Re: Bah!

"They are banning a potentially useful device without much consideration of how people will use it. Automatically, it's videos ("cat videos" as the example) because that's what the small minded twats associate with Google."

Ok, so exactly what uses would there be for an Android-powered computing device, whilst you are in charge of a speeding vehicle?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Bah!

I was not exaggerating, but you miss the point so much I have to wonder if you shouldn't pull over, doff your spaz-spex for a moment and actually take a look at the real world for a bit.

I don't give a toss if you want to pile yourself into a bridge abutment while watching stock quotes or (best possible case using unobtainium technology not yet on the horizon) a virtual reality overlay to "see" through fog (that is likely as out of date as the usual GPS nav system is) to obviate the otherwise very sensible need to slow the f*ck down.

I care that your exercising YOUR free will and indulging in stupidly dangerous activity endangers ME and my family and friends.

It's an unwritten law around here that it's always the drunk who causes the pile-up who walks away with a few cuts. Well, I don't want to be in the other cars when you step from the wreckage of yours, looking sharp in your Googleshades.

And yes, using a non hands-free phone IS illegal in New York, as you could have easily found out if you weren't so focused on getting that info directly at the eyeball while you drive. But that legislation will not cover these accidents waiting to happen because they *are* hands-free.

For once a politician is being proactive with a demonstrably problematical technology. I applaud that. Better to piss off a few Grogans (who can always move to Montana where I understand drivers are free to do pretty much what they want behind the wheel and good luck to them) than end up with dead bodies and no legal recourse.

Idle thought: I wonder how much damage is done to a human eye if someone is wearing these stupid things when their drivers side airbag deploys into their face at the speed of sound?

0
0
Windows

Eyes on road only?

...as well as mirrors, speedo, temp, gatsos, etc. Bit too much Daily Mail oversimplicity for me.

1
0
Silver badge

Well...

...I think it's a sensible precaution. We have no idea how badly it will affect driving, which is bad enough already. No-ome has neede one to drive a car for the last 115 years, so let's try and do without it, eh?

3
2
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Well...

"I think it's a sensible precaution. We have no idea how badly it will affect driving, which is bad enough already. No-ome has neede one to drive a car for the last 115 years, so let's try and do without it, eh?"

Yeah we have no idea how it will affect driving so lets ban it before we can find out....

3
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: Well...

El reg is a rather strange place to see 'luddism' expounded wrapped up in the precautionary principle. Whatever you do don't look that word up in a dictionary, use of text books may harm long term memory function.

2
1

Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

"The people who talk about privacy issues are being silly," Howell said. "When you're walking down a public street, you have no expectation of privacy there."

Someone who knows Mr.Howell should point out that the privacy problem is not what Google know about the wearer's movements and viewing habits but the what Google know about all the people in view of the camera when the wearer is not in a public place. I bet he thinks that being in a bar is also a public place.

4
3

Re: Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

" I bet he thinks that being in a bar is also a public place."

Given that the very next paragraph goes on to say: "He added that owners of private property, such as homes and businesses, would be perfectly within their rights to ban the use of the devices", I'd happily take your bet...

7
0
Silver badge

Re: Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

If you combine an "always on" camera with a full-time internet connection and the capability of all of Google's computing power to put towards facial recognition, and add in the handy database of millions of images in Google+ along with whatever they can trawl from Facebook, Linkedin and so on, you have some serious privacy issues. Google could track your every movement in public, even when you are in a foreign country 12,000 miles from home where exactly zero people know you.

Sure, the same thing is possible if you had the CIA tailing you, or a REALLY GOOD (and no doubt fabulously expensive) private investigation firm, but aside from the "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear" crowd I think most would agree this would not be a good development.

Even if you believe the line about Google doing no evil, there's not a lot of good that could conceivably be done with that type of information unless you think hyper-targeted advertising is a good thing. If you look at the wifi slurping incident, Google is either actively collecting information on people they should have no business collecting, or they have such lax controls over what their employees do that a low level employee can add code to collect tons of private information on people all over the world without management having any idea that it is happening.

3
0
Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Re: Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

Given that the very next paragraph goes on to say: "He added that owners of private property, such as homes and businesses, would be perfectly within their rights to ban the use of the devices", I'd happily take your bet...

Seattle drinking den bans Google Glass geeks from a few weeks ago.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

Howell said. "When you're walking down a public street, you have no expectation of privacy there."

I'll quote him on that if the police arrest me for using a shoe-cam in a public place near to some attractive ladies...

0
0
Headmaster

Re: Someone else who's missed the point about privacy and GG

You do know that the term "pub" is derived from "public house", right?

0
0

OMG

The world must be ending, a politician that wants to make a sensible amendment to a law....

Seriously I don't know how bad it is in other countries currently, but you have no idea how many times I've almost been rammed off the road due to people being distracted by cell phones, MP3 players, or I've even seen them watching god damn movies while driving on LCD screens while almost ramming people. I can't even begin to imagine them with things like google glass on, and how bad it would be.

I vote they also go one step further, and ban them on people walking on the damn street cause I've seen pedestrians walk into the street so many times into oncoming traffic while they were so engrossed in texting(while wearing ear buds blasting music so they can't even hear you honk the damn horn) its not even funny.

11
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

Education is needed, phones make voice calls!

We need to educate people, phones can make voice calls too!!

but in all seriousness, the problem is the brain dead zombies that do the texting, they probably can't even touch type on a full sized keyboard, and sure it is harder to type without looking on a phone but if you know your phone it is easier to do..

That is why I miss my physical keyboard on my ancient smart phone, with that I could type without even needing to look at the keyboard and be 95% sure I had typed correctly!

0
0
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: OMG

How is this sensible? There are two ways of producing legislation, you can proscribe actions - "You can't drive whilst juggling", or you can proscribe behaviour "You can't drive without due care and attention".

Driving whilst watching cat videos is already proscribed - it's driving without due care and attention. So why would you want to amend it to specifically proscribe it - apart from the obvious "I'm a politician from West Virginia and want to be heard".

What if next week the craze is for juggling alligators whilst driving - do we need a specific amendment for that, or do you think we are already covered?

3
0
Silver badge

Re: OMG

It is one thing to ban distraction, it is another thing to make a law that is enforceable and provable in court. If you get into an accident while you are texting while driving, it can be proven in court by subpoena of your cell records. If you are watching something on your Google glasses, how can it be proven, if you are relying on local storage?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

>Howell said. "When you're walking down a public street, you have no expectation of privacy there."

I think Mr Howell is about to discover what privacy in a public place is.

2
1
Trollface

I forget...

might google glass have an accelerometer and gps? Couldn't google just have the HUD display either turn off or go minimalist until the user bypassed a safety feature/disclaimer about the dangers of driving with the hud active? (I know it would be inconvenient for passengers but I'm sure they'll live) Lord knows people are going to wear them regardless of the ban. At least force the idiots to acknowledge their own stupidity.

For that matter couldn't google implement a driver mode/app that would detect movement at the periphery of a drivers vision and give auditory warnings? Perhaps it could be part of the solution rather than the problem? High end cars already have collision detection via cameras. Add a feature to use additional wireless cameras. The problem might be processing power though I suppose. Guess we need some hybrid gpu stream processing.

/shrug. I don't really care about glass. It just seems a little knee jerk to ban it without having a discussion about both the pro's and con's.

1
1
Silver badge

Re: I forget...

Well the thing is, I hardly ever actually look at the satnav while I'm driving. It is mounted on the corner of my windscreen, and I glance over to it when I'm approaching a junction I think I might need to turn at. With google glass, it is going to be in your field of vision all the time.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: I forget...

"With google glass, it is going to be in your field of vision all the time."

Exactly what will be in your field of vision though?

Speed? A pointer to your next turning? Pile-up warning? Dangerous road surface alert? Engine condition alert? Fog Ahead warning?

Oh but hey, it might be cat videos. Let's ban it. All the while we'll happily allow people to sell DVD player kits specifically designed to stick an 8 inch screen in the middle of the dashboard, because that's really useful.

2
4
Silver badge

Re: I forget...

What people forget is that Google glass is only the first step. This technology could quiet easily end up displaying altered reality.

Instead of seeing the road, you see a view enhanced by low light and infrared cameras. Road signs don't exist and instead you see virtual signs that only apply to you.

There is so much this technology can do but banning it before it starts stops it from making driving safer before it has a chance to grow.

1
2
Silver badge

Re: I forget...

Doesn't matter. Whatever it is, when you move your head, it will move with it.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I forget...

Today yes tomorrow no

0
0
Silver badge
Joke

So I can't watch a furry cat video

On my HUD in the F/A-18?

I thought that is what they are for! You know video games and all that. What do you mean that when I shoot at something it actually gets destroyed? This is new to me!

1
0
MrT
Bronze badge

Poems, Prayers and Promises...

Google Glass, take me home

To the place I belong;

Not West Virginia, but Mountain View yeah

Take me home, country roads

Something about teardrops in eyes suggests the image projection is turned up too bright...

0
0

Locks are intended to keep honest people honest

This ban would not stop people from using Glass. But it should be implemented because it will stop some and may save lives. There are people driving who should not because they are incapable of operating the vehicle safely even when not distracted.

Some of the people who have commented here may be capable of safely operating a vehicle even when distracted. I believe that in most cases I would as well. I also know that there may be situations where a distraction may cause me to make a mistake that could kill another person. So I would choose not to use my mobile or Glass when I drive. If you think you are immune then you are a fool.

The point is to save some lives. No law or ban can protect us all. Just put aside your childish attitude and play with your toys at a time when the potential to harm others is reduced or better yet, negated entirely. Not much to ask for if you look at this in a more adult fashion.

3
1

Cognitive Channels

One of the main problems is that our brains have only so much capacity. They are considered as 'cognitive channels' - so for example you cannot read this comment and recite a nursery rhyme. One or the other will take precedence. So you can listen to someone talking while you look up a word in the dictionary but as soon as you find and read the word you will cease to 'hear' what the person is saying. It is similar with spatial/graphical cognition your brain can only process one thing at a time. If you start trying to understand the map on 'Glass' then your will stop fully comprehending the road ahead. Even on a normal cell phone if someone starts describing how to find somewhere your brain switches to spatial graphical processing to understand what they are saying and that is the time you will wander in lane, miss turnings or stop lights as your spatial/graphical was processing the description.

So I would fully support the ban on 'Glass' being used while driving it would be seriously distracting. However, for the same reason I would also be concerned about the number of screens and communication devices in the average law enforcement vehicle. Being pulled over for using a cell phone by someone using a hand held radio and lap top on a gantry on the passenger side of his vehicle is less than logical.

3
0
Silver badge

In South Australia

using Google Glass while driving would already be illegal, without any additional legislation relating to the technology itself:

Extract from SA government road-law website:

a mobile phone may only be used to make or receive a phone call (defined to exclude email, text or video messages) and only if the phone is either:

- secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle - the mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for the purpose and attached as the manufacturer intended; or

- remotely operated - the phone must not be held by or resting on the body (driver’s pocket or pouch excluded) and there must be no touching of the keypad.

Ergo, Google Glass, (which among other things would be classed as a mobile phone under this law) already cannot be used on SA roads, because of the bolded clauses above. I wouldn't be surprised if Virginia's mobile-phone use laws are somewhat similar, so there's probably no need for specific legislation in this regard.

1
0
Big Brother

Re: In South Australia

Two things:

>> Google Glass, (which among other things would be classed as a mobile phone under this law)

Really? Unless the law is really broad in its definition of mobile phone then this is one to be decided by the courts as it would be quite a jump to describe Google Glass as a mobile phone.

>> driver’s pocket or pouch excluded

Easy then, the actual Glasses frame is the pouch used to store the communication technology.

A fairly woolly law with enough leeway to keep the lawyers busy.

0
0
Sil

Walking down a public street

Privacy is not silly. When walking down a public street one has privacy rights in most countries and the recorder can show his street filming without individual permissions only in very limited scenario e.g. nobody is singled out and crowd is the subject, it has high news value for the public.

I sure hope that many places and organizations will ban the use of glasses within their boundaries the same way cameras or phones are today.

1
1

Re: Walking down a public street

>> I sure hope that many places and organizations will ban the use of glasses within their boundaries the same way cameras or phones are today.

So no Google Glass in Strip clubs and art galleries then but OK most other places

0
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Walking down a public street

When walking down a public street one has privacy rights in most countries and the recorder can show his street filming without individual permissions only in very limited scenario e.g. nobody is singled out and crowd is the subject, it has high news value for the public.

Completely incorrect. If you are in public, you can take a photo of whatever you want for whatever reason you desire.

2
0
Silver badge

Not just GG

It's about time the problem with SatNavs being installed on the windscreen also be looked at. I followed a car the other day where the satnav was placed right in the middle of the windscreen, below the rear view mirror. It must have obscured quite a lot of the the view from the car. How the girl driving expected to see everything she needs to see to be able to drive safely is beyond me. The more you can see the better you can drive - and that goes for GG as well. Anything that obscures your view of the road when driving is a danger to you and to others.

Anyone who thinks otherwise, needs to THINK. All this talk of superimposing speed limits on your FOV etc is nonsense. It's still preventing you from seeing the road, and also distracting you as well. How that can that EVER be a good thing?

1
0
Happy

So I'm supposed to hold my phone or tablet to watch "cat videos" whilst driving?

That's got to be way more dangerous.

1
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Training

Fighter pilots spend many hours in the simulator learning to use all the tools in the cockpit (HUD, moving maps, FLIR, helmet mounted screens, etc) before they are let loose on the similarly equipped aircraft.

Head mounted driving aids will have their day, but until drivers are properly and fully trained in there use, the message has to be that they are banned.

Some people claim it is common sense not to do certain things while driving. The trouble with common sense is that it isn't really that common.

2
0
Silver badge
FAIL

""The problem with [Glass] – and this might not be the right term – is that it's an open architecture," Delegate Gary Howell, lead sponsor of the bill, told El Reg. "So you can watch funny cat videos while you're driving down the highway, which probably isn't a good idea."

"The problem with attractive passers by - and this might not be the right term - is that it's an open architecture. So you can ogle the passers by while driving down the highway, which probably isn't a good idea."

The solution of course is to train drivers to not be distracted easily when driving, which works for Glass, Car Radios, Beeping Phones, Screaming Kids and all sorts of other distractions. Presumably a bill to combat that would suggest changes to the driving assessment process, not a ban on things, and might actually help.

1
0
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

The solution of course is to train drivers to not be distracted easily when driving...

Pull the other one!

1
0

Glass location?

It does not seem too unlikely that some sort of situational awareness will be designed into Glass After all the whole purpose of "enhanced reality" is based on knowing where you are. So when the Glasses realize they are in a car, and moving, the allowable displays would be restricted.

I actually find this a rather interesting idea. Imagine direction arrows displayed as if they are on the road, sort of like the lines that are overlaid on US football shows

0
0

I'm going to make a prediction....

The only people who wear Google Glass all the time will be those twits who also walk around with a bluetooth earpiece attached to their ear lugs. You might wear Glass for a specific task but the idea that you will have it on your head while you sit with your mates in the pub is frankly ridiculous. People spend a long time on their faces, hair and clothes - even those who work in IT - and they are not going to take to something that makes them look like a Star Trek extra. And that's before we even start to talk about the inevitable weight of these things. Did anyone ever try on the Oakley sunglasses with a built in MP3 player? If so, you'll know what I am talking about.

1
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums