Government Mulls Google Glass Driver Ban

Drivers in the UK are to be banned from using the upcoming Google Glass device, in a similar move to the ban on mobile phones whilst on the move.

The likely ban was confirmed in a statement to TechWeekEurope from the Department for Transport (Dft). The department confirmed it was aware of the impending release of the Google Glass device later this year, and are actively considering how to ban it for drivers.

Distraction Device?

“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 DfT spokesman said in a statement send to TechweekEurope.

“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.”

“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 portable computer is likely to be banned under the same provisions in the 1988 Road Traffic Act, that was updated to ban mobile phone use whilst driving.

The DfT feels Google Glass poses the same distraction risk as a mobile phone and could compromise driver concentration levels whilst they are behind the wheel. The use of mobile phones whilst driving was banned back in 2003, although millions of drivers are still being convicted of using them when driving.

American concern

Yet the UK is not alone in being concerned about the impending arrival of Google Glass. In the United States, a West Virginia legislator introduced a bill in March that would have banned drivers from operating motor vehicles while wearing Glass and similar head-mounted devices, but the bill stalled and no action was taken in the last session of the state House.

The concept of Google Glass has been a hit so far for Google, but some critics  continue to be worried about the privacy implications surrounding the use of Glass.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen viewed from eight feet away. The glasses also boast a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers that were revealed in earlier reports.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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