UK Plans to Ban Using Google Glass While Driving

Oops.Credit: / CCThe benefits of versatile, hands-free technology promised by Google Glass may not be enjoyed by British drivers thanks to planned government regulations.

The gadget, which rests on the bridge of the nose and projects a visual display, will likely not hit the market in the U.K. until the spring of 2014. Nevertheless, lawmakers are already considering regulating when people can use the device.

Stuff, a British consumer technology magazine, was the first to break the news, reporting on an announcement made by a spokesperson for the Department for Transport:

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. 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.

The Stuff article suggests that violations would fall under the 1988 Road Traffic Act. The penalty for using Google Glass while driving would likely be a £60 fine (roughly $90) and three points being added to the offender's license, which is the same punishment as using a cellphone while driving. 

Will Findlater, a Stuff editor, bemoans the potential technological void that will be created by overregulation. The ban “closes the door on UK app developers' efforts to exploit the in-car possibilities of the device, as has already been seen with GlassTesla in the US.”

Jeffrey Van Camp at Digital Trends also disagrees with the proposed ban,“Wearing Glass is not distracting,” he insists. Van Camp elaborates, “It sits on your face, requires virtually no physical interaction, and doesn’t block your vision.” Van Camp also explained that using this wearable piece of technology could actually be beneficial, “Glassy drivers can see the weather ahead, answer a call, learn the time, or get turn-by-turn navigation directions without taking their eyes off the road for a second.”

Legal restrictions on “glassing and driving” have already been proposed in the United States. CNet writes that politicians in both Delaware and West Virginia have written bills that, so far, have not gained enough support to take effect. Likewise, various individual businesses, ranging from bars to casinos, have already preemptively prohibited people from wearing Google Glass in their establishments. 

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  • Rhywun||


    These usages had better not become accepted or I'm afraid I'm going to have to slice my ears off and gouge out my eyeballs.

  • Agammamon||

    We've already got googling so better spend some time sharpening the knife. Dull ones hurt.

  • Rhywun||

    Dull ones hurt.

    I know.

  • kinnath||

    Head-worn display systems are being used in the military with remarkable success. These kinds of systems have the potential to dramatically improve driver performance and reduce distracted driving.

    Of course, stupid people with do dumb things with head-worn displays and will cause accidents that kill themselves or others.

    And the standard response of government weanies is to ban technology rather that punish stupid people for being stupid.

  • ||

    UK Air Force Plans to Ban Using Google Glass Heads Up Displays While Driving Flying

    Too distracting. Better to look down in the cockpit at your cell phones Instruments.

  • ||

    our cell phones instruments.


  • anon||

    I thought you were just implying that we should have pilots staring at their cocks while flying.

    It's *really* got to be hard to fly a jet with a huge throbbing erection.

  • NeonCat||

    Why do you think they call it a "joystick"?

  • UnCivilServant||

    The car is the one place I'd want a head-mounted display unit...

  • R C Dean||

    Ah, for the days when the words "head" and "car" would only be found together in a very different sentence.

  • ||

    They should be allowed to wear google glass, but only if they are using it for GPS or driving assistance. I don't want people checking facebook while driving.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I hope they are getting around to outlawing using books and driving.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Are we really all going to wear Google Glasses now? Because I gotta tell you guys, I'm not 100% on this.

  • ||

    I think we should ban wearing Google Glass while driving a Segway.

  • anon||

    I think anyone that owns both of those products has already been banned by society.

  • Agammamon||

    Or lives in Portland, which is much the same, I guess.

  • BakedPenguin||

    OT: Man buys what he thinks is a toy poodle, but it's actually a ferret on steroids.

  • Mainer2||

    I think I've heard that one before:

  • Agammamon||

    Hmm, so in the near future those with eyeglasses/contacts will have to have two sets? One for driving (with no AR functionality) and one for everywhere else.


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