U.K. to ban wearing Google Glass while driving, report says

Britain's Department for Transport issues a preemptive strike by suggesting that wearing Google's glasses behind the wheel will be against the law.

Subways and tubes, yes. U.K.'s roads, no. Noah Zerkin/Twitter with permission

Where the Republicans of West Virginia tread lightly, the Brits may stomp heartily.

The U.K.'s Department for Transport has announced that it is not in favor of tolerating drivers who wear Google's new glasses.

A Department of Transport spokesman was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: "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."

He added in quotes that were actually given to StuffTV: "We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving."

The spokesman added that the department sees it as something that comes under the rubric of careless or distracted driving.

Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers in West Virginia, led by Rep. Gary Howell -- spurred, oddly, by a Technically Incorrect post -- tried to get a ban on Glassing and driving enacted in their own state.

The issue ended up being tabled for a future date .

In reaction to the potentially troubling news from the old country, a Google spokesman told me: "It's early days and we are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues. Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology."

You might choose to translate that as: "Oh, lumme. But there's no actual law against it yet, is there?"

Some current Google Glass explorers have told me that wearing Glass behind the wheel makes them reach for their phones less.

In the past Google has offered that it doesn't see Glassing and driving as dangerous.

Indeed, at the time of West Virginia's move, a company spokesman told me: "We actually believe there is tremendous potential (with Glass) to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome."

It seems as if the British government is beginning to offer its feedback.

Of course, a law will have to first actually be enacted. Moreover, how will that law handle the fact that, one day, Google Glass will be inserted onto prescription glasses?

Will Britain's nice policemen tell drivers to take their prescription Google glasses off? That might be interesting.

Google has powerful connections with the British government. I can just imagine the calls being placed after the Department of Transport's statement.

 

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