All That's Trucking

Next on the Distracted-Driving Hit List: Google Glass?

April 5, 2013

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I'm wondering, has Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seen this video showing how the new Google Glass product is supposed to work? Because I'm pretty sure he might have something to say about Google Glass and distracted driving. The West Virginia state legislature already has.

Google Glass, due for release later this year, is an electronics device that looks much like a pair of eyeglasses but operates much like a voice-activated smart phone. The computer display appears in the user’s right field of vision. Functions include voice-activated text messaging, video recording and live streaming, photo capturing, navigation, language translation and of course googling.

I have to admit, this sounds like the kind of thing I've always wished for -- something that could take photos or video of what I'm seeing. And the ability to search the web, do language translation and text message is like something out of the sci-fi novels I devoured as a kid. Really cool!

But, how distracting might it be, especially behind the wheel?

A legislator in West Virginia has introduced a bill that would address the question and prohibit driving a vehicle while using a wearable computer with a head-mounted display.

The legislation, introduced by Delegate Gary G. Howell, would update existing state law aimed at curbing distracted driving. (In West Virginia, driving while texting with a handheld cell phone is already a primary offense.)

Google Glass is supposed to be available later this year. They haven't officially announced a price, but publications that have spoken with Google employees are saying about the same as a smartphone. I don't see a lot of truckers among the first-wave adopters. But give it time. As with most technology, prices will eventually come down with wider use.

Although LaHood will likely be gone as head of the DOT by then, what he's started with distracted driving laws now has plenty of momentum on its own. So don't be surprised when you see a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the DOT looking to regulate the use of Google Glass by commercial truck drivers.

Want to know more about Google Glass? Here's a good recent article on a tech website:

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

Truck journalist 21 years, joined us in 1998. Plans and coordinates editorial, specializes in maintenance, drivers and fleet operations.

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