Published January 16, 2014
Traffic laws tend to be one step behind technology. After all, the first state law prohibiting texting while driving came about six years ago. And now with Google Glass on the horizon to hit the masses, some are wondering how wearable technology will impact state and federal laws.
A woman in California testified Thursday regarding a citation she received in October for driving while wearing Google’s (GOOG) high-tech glasses. Cecelia Abadie, a technology entrepreneur who was testing the glasses for the tech giant, was stopped for speeding last year, and written a second citation for using a “monitor” in her car while driving, Reuters reports.
The court dismissed the citation on the grounds there was no proof her Google Glass was operating when she was pulled over, Reuters explains. But Richard Bennett, visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, says the conflict is a “classic example” of the conflict between new technology and traditional regulations.
“We have a traffic law in California that is written to prevent people from texting while driving, and it has been applied to Google Glass. It’s not the same thing,” Bennett says. “Systems like Google Glass have a lot to offer in terms of assisting people with direction and navigation while driving—it’s a heads-up display.”
Bennett adds that at this week’s Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai introduced its 2015 Genesis model, which will have inundated support for Google Glass.
“It shows you how out-of-step traditional law can be,” he says.
He says modern law will have to adapt to new technology, much like the laws that have cropped up behind texting while driving, and using hands-free phone devices while behind the wheel.
“GPS is not banned by the law, and cops can’t tell if they are navigating [while wearing Google Glass] or if they are watching a football game,” Bennett says. “It’s a quandary for law enforcement to go after situations like that. We have to go back to common sense laws.”