Google Glass While Driving

Adam M. Gershowitz

William & Mary Law School

August 11, 2014

William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-280

Is it legal to use Google Glass while driving? Most states ban texting while driving and a large number also forbid drivers from being able to see television and video screens. But do these statutes apply to Google Glass? Google advises users to check their states’ law and to “Read up and follow the law!” Yet, laws designed for a tangible world are very difficult to apply to virtual screens projected by futuristic wearable technology. In short order, however, police and prosecutors across the country will be called upon to apply outdated distracted driving laws to Google Glass.

This article describes how the plain language of most distracted driving statutes is not broad enough to reach Google Glass. Moreover, even statutes that arguably forbid drivers from “using” Glass are practically unenforceable because drivers could easily claim the devices were turned off or that they were being used for lawful functions – such as phone calls or GPS directions – that are allowed under texting while driving statutes. The lack of a clear prohibition on Google Glass while driving is troublesome. Social science evidence demonstrates that using hands-free devices while driving creates “cognitive tunnel vision” that drastically reduces drivers’ mental focus on the road.

After analyzing the nation’s distracted driving laws and reviewing the social science evidence, this article proposes a statutory framework for effectively banning Google Glass while driving.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: Google Glass, Glass, texting, texting while driving, distracted driving, cognitive tunnel vision, inattention blindness

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Date posted: August 12, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Gershowitz, Adam M., Google Glass While Driving (August 11, 2014). William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-280. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2478673

Contact Information

Adam M. Gershowitz (Contact Author)
William & Mary Law School ( email )
South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
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