Police May Start Cracking Down On Google Glass

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Google is currently executing test runs on a technology known as Glass, a headset that offers many of the functions people are used to having only on their phones and computers. But although a recent citation in California may have just set the stage for a battle between proponents of technological progress and proponents of public safety, the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group believes the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

With the spread of Google Glass, smart-watches, and Internet-ready automobiles on the horizon, my hope is that immediate action by lawmakers can prevent future tragedy

Tech companies continue to ponder what the next big thing in technology is going to be. Smartphones are yesterday’s news at this point, with innovators hoping that things like smart watches are going to take off the way that tablets did a couple years ago.

Google is hoping to make a big impact with a system they’ve dubbed Glass. Google Glass is basically a heads-up display that gives an individual a view of the world not dissimilar from what one might find in a first-person shooter video game. Someone wearing Glass can receive and respond to messages via voice activation, view nearby location information, and of course, place calls.

But many have wondered about the safety of these devices in a world where distraction already runs rampant. The wide array of opinions was examined in a New York Times piece from May 24, 2013 called "Is Google Glass Dangerous?" States across the country have passed laws against distracted driving, and the inattention has gotten so bad for pedestrians that distracted walking has become a very real problem that leads to countless emergency room visits each year. Some believe that adding a veritable Robocop-visor to the equation is asking for trouble.

Those who have been curious about how lawmakers and police entities will respond to the threat may not need to wonder anymore. Recently, a woman in San Diego received what may very well turn out to be the first ever citation for Google Glassing while driving.

An October 31, 2013 Reuters article explored the occurrence in detail in an article aptly entitled “California woman ticketed for driving with Google Glass.” The report suggests that the recipient of the citation was testing a prototype. After being pulled over for speeding, the officer opted to tack on the additional offense of driving with a monitor.

With three decades of personal injury litigation experience, the attorneys of the Nagelberg Bernard Law Group see the writing on the wall. Larry Nagelberg provides his opinion thusly:

“Over the past decade, I’ve witnessed cellphones become a serious driving threat eclipsing even drunk driving,” said Mr. Nagelberg. “With the spread of Google Glass, smart-watches, and Internet-ready automobiles on the horizon, my hope is that immediate action by lawmakers can prevent future tragedy. There needs to be a legal framework established to account for the widespread availability of such technological breakthroughs.”

To that end, the law firm is calling upon four groups to do what they can to prevent future accidents related to these exciting technologies:

•Lawmakers- Given the unique nature of Google Glass, there’s some question as to whether or not the citation issued by the officer mentioned above will even stick. Lawmakers in California and elsewhere need to act quickly to ensure that the usage by drivers of anything that could be construed as a monitor, not just cellphones, tablets, and computers, would warrant a distracted driving citation.

•Drivers- Whether a law against such devices is passed or not, drivers have to realize that they can be distracted even when their eyes are technically still on the road. Studies have shown that this type of inattention blindness may be even more dangerous than a system requiring manual manipulation. Drivers intent on using Glass and other devices have to turn them off at the wheel so that their eyes (and their minds) can stay on the road in front of them.

•Officers- California’s recent attempts to spread awareness of and crack down on distracted driving with increased patrols and a zero-tolerance policy are admirable. Such efforts absolutely must continue, and officers should be trained to spot those mobile technologies like watches and headsets that don’t look like the typical cellphone.

•Safety agencies- Campaigns raising awareness about cellphone-based distracted driving are to be commended, but future campaigns should take into account new mobile systems that are just now entering the national consciousness. Otherwise, the letter of the campaign may be met when everyone puts down their cellphone, but the spirit of the campaign will flounder as people instead use their watches and headsets to engage in activities that are just as distracting as texting.

The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group represents the victims of numerous types of personal injury accidents, including automobile accidents, dog bites, slip and fall incidents, defective products, and wrongful death in any of the above. They have guided injured persons through the legal process for more than 30 years and their efforts have helped secure more than $400 million in compensation for clients. Free consultations and a host of personal injury resources can be found at the NB Law Group website.

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