Following a summit earlier this month that saw the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation press tech companies on solutions to minimize distracted driving, Reuters reports that Google is fighting back against new legislation that would regulate use of Google Glass behind the wheel:
Google is lobbying officials in at least three U.S. states to stop proposed restrictions on driving with headsets such as Google Glass, marking some of the first clashes over the nascent wearable technology.
Some eight U.S. states are considering regulation of Google Glass, a tiny computer screen mounted in the corner of an eyeglass frame. Law enforcement and other groups are concerned that drivers wearing the devices will pay more attention to their email than the road, causing serious accidents.
The report adds that Google has lobbyists attempting to convince government officials in Delaware, Missouri, and Illinois that Glass is safe to use while driving. While no state has yet passed a bill restricting use of Google Glass specifically, it appears that at least some officials won’t be backing down from the proposed legislation despite Google’s efforts:
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Illinois state Senator Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat who introduced a Google Glass restriction bill in December, responded that it was clear the merchandise was heading for the broader public. “Who are they fooling?”
Silverstein said he recently met with Google lobbyists trying to “kill” the bill, a position Silverstein suggested is driven by market considerations for the company.
Last year questions about the legality of driving while wearing Glass were brought up again when a Californian woman was issued a ticket for wearing the device. The ticket was later thrown out by a judge who noted it couldn’t be proven the device was powered on.
Google doesn’t specifically advise against wearing Glass while driving, but it did recently release an etiquette guide asking users to refrain from using Glass in situations they wouldn’t normally use other mobile devices.