As teenage and adult drivers alike continue to allow cell phones to distract their attention from the road, Google Glass advocates and critics alike are questioning whether the device will be legal for drivers to wear once it is available to the public. After all, it’s illegal to use handheld cellphone devices for calling or texting while driving, but Bluetooth headsets or hands free calls are permitted.
Google Glass is clearly a hands free alternative to traditional smartphones so drivers can keep both hands on the wheel, but the notifications show up directly on the screen so the device may be considered distracting for drivers. But since Google Glass provides such a unique experience for the wearer and the technology is so different from what we currently have on the market, only a few people have had the chance to wear Glass at all, let alone while driving.
But one man has already driven 1,500 clicks wearing Glass. Chris Barrett, Google Glass explorer and founder of PRserve, spoke to Venture Beat about his experiences of driving while wearing Google Glass. One of the first searches Barrett used Google Glass for when he received his pair was: “OK Glass, is Glass illegal to wear while driving?” When the search results didn’t indicate any reason he should not drive with Glass on, Barrett drove away from Google’s New York office wearing the device.
Now, Barrett says he wears Glass every time he gets into a vehicle and believes the device has the potential to save lives on the road. He hopes Glass will be categorized “under Bluetooth and wireless headsets…I don’t see this as being any different than an on-windshield display that auto manufacturers have been putting in cars for years.”
However, lawmakers in the UK and several States are already trying to ban Glass from being worn by drivers.
Read more about Chris Barrett’s opinions on driving with Google Glass at Venture Beat.