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Google Glass: zeitgeist or no, safety legislation may be in order

Claims about the zeitgeist - the spirit of the times - are easy to overdo.

After all, in a country like the U.S., with over 300 million people, there is arguably no single spirit or animating force that fully reflects the complexity of the culture.

But if there were a short list of artifacts chosen to reflect our technology-focused society, Google Glass would surely be included. The wearable computer that looks like enhanced eyeglasses is poised for a breakout year this year as it becomes available to the general public.

In this post, we will update you on the implications that this development may have for motor vehicle safety.

As we noted in our January 10 post on wearable technology, there are grounds for concern about cognitive overload for car drivers who may be tempted to wear Google Glass behind the wheel.

Indeed, there has already been a case in San Diego of a driver ticketed for doing this.

The San Diego case was based on violation of a California statute that prohibits various forms of distracted driving. It should be noted, however, that at least three states are looking at proposals to revise their traffic laws to specifically restrict the use of Google Glass while driving.

Those states are New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia.

It is entirely likely that other states will also enact such prohibitions. A well-publicized car accident caused by a driver wearing Google Glass would probably act as a catalyst for further legislation.

In short, even a gleaming new tool that rides the winds of the zeitgeist may be ripe for appropriate safety legislation.

Source: AdAge, "Your Complete Guide to Google Glass Etiquette," Simon Dumenco, Feb. 4, 2014

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