Google Glass & Driver Safety: What Do You See Ahead?

Preemptive action is being considered by the UK Department for Transport in light of the impending release of Google Glass technology.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (you see data floating in front of your face because its being displayed immediately in front of your right google-glass-drivingeye). Google Glass enables users to interact with the Internet via natural language voice commands so you could get turn by turn navigation to your destination, check for traffic congestion ahead, note detours and construction zones, get weather reports, sport score updates, record videos (it has a camera built in) and much more.

The chief safety concern is that wearing these glasses while driving could introduce new and dangerous distractions to the wearer.

This has prompted action by the UK Department for Transport whose spokesman has said

We are aware of the impending roll out of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.

It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road. A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offence later this year.

We are aware of the impending roll out of Google Glass and are in discussion with the Police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving.

In addition to this proactive stance, West Virginia state representative Gary G. Howell has introduced an amendment to the state’s law against texting while driving that would include bans against “using a wearable computer with head mounted display.” In an interview, Howell stated, “The primary thing is a safety concern, it (the glass headset) could project text or video into your field of vision. I think there’s a lot of potential for distraction.

Technology journal “CNET” reports that “In the past Google has offered that it doesn’t see Glassing and driving as dangerous…: ‘We actually believe there is tremendous potential (with Glass) to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome.'”

Several articles on this topic suggest that the general public and at least one car manufacturer (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/07/30/mercedes-benz-intergrating-google-glass-into-its-cars/) are looking forward to using Glass while driving.

PedestriansWith all the statistics on distracted driving collisions that come from holding a cell phone or checking email while driving, would the design of “Google Glass” make a significant difference in allowing drivers to navigate among pedestrians, cyclists, roundabouts, intersections and stop lights while checking stock tips?

Is the ability to record videos using Google Glass a redemptive quality in that the system could record, save and transmit collision videos directly to the claims unit of the driver’s insurance carrier? Is there an app for that?

Hmmm. What do you think about this device and it’s potential impact on safety?

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One thought on “Google Glass & Driver Safety: What Do You See Ahead?

  1. Google is nuts for thinking it’s not a distraction! It seems it’s targeted to drivers w/ all the info it provides…this is what makes me crazy about technology….just b/c you CAN, doesn’t mean you should…for instance, watching a movie on a 6” screen or back in the day, a 2” screen…ugh!

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