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Could Google Glass be banned for drivers before it hits stores?

A US lawmaker proposes legislation that would prohibit people from wearing products like Google Glass while driving.

By Lisa EadiciccoLaptop magazine / March 25, 2013

In this undated file photo provided by the Google group's 'Project Glass,' an early prototype of Google's futuristic Internet-connected glasses, are modeled. West Virginia Legislature Republican Gary G. Howell proposed a bill that would ban using a wearable computer with a head-mounted display while driving.

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It will be quite some time before we see people walking down the street wearing Google Glass, but a lawmaker in the U.S. has already proposed a ban on driving with the augmented reality spectacles. 

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West Virginia Legislature Republican Gary G. Howell recently proposed a bill that prohibits “using a wearable computer with head-mounted display” while driving a vehicle. This would align with current U.S. laws that make it illegal to text or use a smart phone while driving without using a hands-free device.

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“I actually like the idea of the product and I believe it is the future, but last legislature we worked long and hard on a no-texting-and-driving law,” Howell told CNET.

The restriction, however, would make an exception for law enforcement and emergency service officers, ZDNet reports.

It is mostly the young that are the tech-savvy that try new things,” Howell also told CNET. “They are also our most vulnerable and under-skilled drivers. We heard of many crashes caused by texting and driving, most involving our youngest drivers. I see the Google Glass as an extension.”

A recent report from the Traffic Injury Prevention Journal finds that texting behind the wheel could be just as dangerous as being a quarter over the drink-drive limit. 

Still, driving concerns are just one controversial aspect surrounding Google’s unreleased AR eyewear. Privacy issues that could result from Google Glass usage have sparked some establishments to publicly protest the technology, such Seattle local bar The 5 Point.

“For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses,” a post on the bar’s Facebook page reads.

Additionally, a website called Stop The Cyborgs was founded to protest privacy issues that could arise from wearing Google Glass. 

“The aim of the movement is to stop a future in which privacy is impossible and corporate control total,” the website says in its mission statement. 

Slated for a late 2013 launch, Google’s headset will come with features such as turn-by-turn directions, photo and video recording capabilities, and voice-enabled search among others. 

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