Google wants to prevent legislators in three states from passing restrictions on the use of augmented-reality headsets such as Google Glass while driving, according to Reuters.
State legislators and law enforcement are concerned that Google Glass will prove too much of a distraction behind the wheel, leading to accidents and fatalities. While eight states are reportedly considering legislation of some sort, Google has focused its preventative efforts—in the form of lobbyists—on three states in particular: Missouri, Delaware, and Illinois.
The search-engine giant argues that any effort to ban Google Glass is premature, as the technology is in use by only a tiny circle of technologists. “While Glass is currently in the hands of a small group of Explorers,” the company told Reuters, “we find that when people try it for themselves they better understand the underlying principle that it’s not meant to distract but rather connect people more with the world around them.”
That’s not a point of view held by some state legislators. “I’m not against Google or Google Glass. It may have a place in society,” Joseph Miro, a Delaware state representative who introduced Glass-restricting legislation, told the newswire. “My issue is that while you are driving, you should have nothing that is going to impede the concentration of the driver.”
Despite its relative newness and miniscule adoption rate, Google Glass has managed to spark a number of interlocking controversies over the past year, much of it related to the camera-and-screen setup embedded in the device’s frame. Some pundits and civil libertarians hate the idea of law enforcement (or other government entities) wearing hardware that can collect a constant stream of video and audio; bar owners and movie-theater managers have ejected customers for wearing Glass; and, in January, California Courts launched into a much-publicized debate over whether driving with Glass is legal.
Current scuttlebutt suggests that Google will launch a “commercial” version of Glass sometime this year. If the device proves a hit with the general public, that might intensify the debate over its uses… including whether people should use it behind the wheel.