Google Glass: An accident waiting to happen?

Experts have yet to say whether the Internet-enabled eyewear presents a hazard to drivers, but at least one state thinks it could be a bad combination.

By Jonathan Berr Mar 27, 2013 4:39PM

A Google employee wears a pair of Glass during Google's Developers Conference on June 27, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. (© Mathew Sumner/Getty Images)Should the 8,000 people Google (GOOG) has chosen to try its new space-age, Internet-connected glasses -- for the price of $1,500 -- be allowed to wear them while driving a motor vehicle? 


Experts aren't sure.

Most people would likely find Google Glass -- the high-tech eyeglasses that, among other things, enable a user to record a video through a voice command while displaying information such as Internet search results and the weather -- distracting to say the least. And distracted drivers make unsafe drivers who are more likely to be in accidents. But whether Google's device will cause safety problems isn't clear to experts such as The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

"For example, 10 years ago, IIHS research suggested that cellphone use would become a major safety problem on the road," writes Russ Rader, an IIHS spokemsan, in an email to MSN. "Even though our research showed that drivers using phones were 4 times more likely to be involved in crashes, we haven't seen the wave of crashes we expected. Overall police-reported crashes over the last decade have dropped at the same time cellphone use by drivers has dramatically increased."

Officials from Mountain View, Calif.-based Google couldn't immediately be reached for comment. West Virginia recently became the first state to consider banning wearable computers with head-mounted displays while driving. Thirty-nine states already ban texting while driving.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) has more practical concerns, such as whether the glasses will increase eye strain or if users will be more apt to walk into utility poles once the line between the real and the virtual world is blurred.

"If you accidentally said the wrong word while you're crossing the road, something might pop up in front of you . . . which might be a problem if there's a big red bus coming towards you," AOA spokeswoman Karen Sparrow told WebMD last year.


Jonathan Berr is happy with his analog glasses. He doesn't own shares of the listed stocks.  Follow him on Twitter at @jdberr.


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Mar 27, 2013 4:58PM

If you're too stupid to notice big, red buses coming towards you, we don't really need you on this planet anyways.

Mar 28, 2013 2:01AM

Yeah and people lie about the Cell phone too...


They all blame it on a deer or a raccoon.

Mar 28, 2013 7:09AM
They need to ban cell phones while driving, period! I would imagine the crashes have been less because people are more aware that people cannot drive and talk or text. I dodge people daily, they're all over the lane, they slow down at least 10 mph to answer their dang phones, and they are constantly changing lanes without looking. All we need are people watching videos while driving. Good Lord, a car is a dangerous weapon and can kill easily. Driving a car is a responsibility and you need your full attention on performing that responsibility. You can certainly wait 10 minutes to find out what you're having for dinner or what Susie wore today or who Jimmy is dating now.
Mar 28, 2013 1:58AM

It will be much,much worse than talking on a Cell or drinking..Maybe as bad as texting, could be worse...?


People just can't Multi-task....Their brains are not developed enough.

Mar 28, 2013 4:11AM
Isn't this essentially a heads-up display? Like what fighter pilots use?

Heads up displays (HUDs) can relay important information in a way that is as non-distracting as possible, allowing you to see what's on the road and vital information about what you're doing at the same time. My guess is Google will come up with a "car mode" like they have in past versions of android phones that is unobtrusive and only shows vital information.

You could even have GPS directions discreetly overlaying your view of the road instead of having to divert your attention to a GPS device's screen somewhere in your car.

Overlaying pertinent information to a pilot/driver through a HUD is efficient and leads to less distractions than having to physically move your head to check gauges/screens. Again, that's why the military uses heads up displays in aircraft.

Google Glass has the potential to create safer drivers.
Mar 28, 2013 7:46AM
Banning things does no good unless someone is there to enforce it.  Its against the law to not wear a seatbelt. Its against the law to make U-turns in the middle of the road. Its against the law to drive the wrong way on a one way street.  If a police officer isn't there to enforce it what does banning it do? 

I don't know what the answer is and Im not sure there is an answer. 
The reason for no increase in accidents is the people like me who NEVER use a cell phone while driving are dodging the idiots who do.
Mar 28, 2013 9:42AM

Perhaps the answer is to just make the glasses not display anything while driving? Lets do some testing first. I get the concern and its a valid point but I don't see it as being a disaster just yet. Let's do some research first then we can decide what words to use to describe it as it relates to driving. It hasn't even been seen yet whether or not people will even like this concept and device in general. Little soon to predict massive numbers of wrecks and chaos on the roads.

Now I do agree that people need to ease up on cell phone usage but even more so when it comes to texting, that I think is the bigger problem when it comes to smart phones.

I think its time

Mar 28, 2013 8:04AM
Just another way for big brother to watch everybody. These are not a good idea.
Mar 28, 2013 11:50AM

Medic-chan......Not positive, but I believe they have those overlays now....That can be projected on your windshield....Just not practicable, nor cost effective for most or actually any.


But still I believe the technology exist....??

Mar 28, 2013 9:49AM
You could record a bad driver in front of you and send it to the police if you could wear it while driving.  I see little distraction in voicing "google, record".
Mar 27, 2013 4:41PM
We may have to shop on line and our things will be shipped from China the way this country economy is going.  Greed greed greed...all I can say.
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