Illinois could bar drivers from using Google Glass

Published: Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 11:32 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Google’s new computerized glasses aren’t on sale to the general public yet, but the devices already have lawmakers in Illinois and several other states concerned that they’ll become the latest deadly distraction for drivers.

Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein filed legislation Tuesday to bar motorists from using the Google Glass devices, which allow wearers to search the Internet, make phone calls and check email.

“It’s just another way people will be distracted,” the Chicago Democrat told the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers. “People’s attention to the road should not be interrupted.”

Google Glass features a thumbnail-size transparent video display on a lens in front of the user’s right eye. The device is built into frames that look like eyeglasses. The technology will not be made widely available to the public until 2014, but about 10,000 “explorers” received the glasses earlier this year as part of a tryout.

One of those “explorers” is already in trouble for driving while wearing the device.

Cecilia Abadie, a California software developer, was pulled over in October on suspicion of going 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on a San Diego freeway.

The California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle. Abadie pleaded not guilty in San Diego traffic court Tuesday.

In Illinois, Silverstein’s measure would piggyback on the state’s new law banning drivers from using cellphones unless they’re speaking with a hands-free device.

In a statement, Google spokeswoman Anna Richardson White said wearers should use the technology responsibly and make safety a priority.

“More broadly, Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it,” Richardson White said.

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The legislation is Senate Bill 2632.

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Information from: The Pantagraph, http://www.pantagraph.com

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