Jan 29 Sparsely populated Wyoming, whose natural
beauty draws tourists from around the globe, is among a small
number of U.S. states eyeing a ban on the use of wearable
computers while driving, a move that appears to target Google
Wyoming state Senator Floyd Esquibel, a Democrat who crafted
the bill to ban such devices behind the wheel, said he wanted to
ensure safeguards are in place before the technology premiered
by Google - a tiny computer mounted to an eyeglass frame - is
"Common sense would tell you that you really don't need to
look at a little computer while driving, that it endangers you,
your passengers and other drivers," he said of the bill he
introduced this month. The legislature will convene to consider
new bills in February.
Wyoming is among at least seven U.S. states eyeing
restrictions on the technology over concerns that drivers
wearing Google Glass may pay more attention to their email or
other online endeavors than the road.
Other states considering measures that would ban use of
wearable computers while driving are Delaware, Illinois,
Missouri, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia, according to
the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Google Glass, which projects a small screen above a corner
of a wearer's eye, is expected to become a major catalyst for
what many believe to be the next big trend in mobile, wearable
But in a high-profile California case that raised new
questions about distracted driving, one of thousands of people
testing Google Glass was ticketed for wearing the device while
driving after being stopped for speeding in October.
Cecilia Abadie later got her ticket, for using a "visual"
monitor in her car while driving, thrown out because of a lack
of proof the device was operating at the time. Her speeding
ticket was also dismissed.
The case nevertheless renewed debate about distracted
driving, which was linked to car crashes that caused injuries to
an estimated 421,000 people in the United States in 2012, up 9
percent from 2011, according to the National Highway Traffic
Esquibel, member of a state Senate transportation panel,
successfully pushed in 2010 for Wyoming to outlaw driver
texting, which is already banned in most states. Some states
also ban the use of handheld mobile phones while driving.
He said the proposed ban on the use of wearable computers
while driving faces an uncertain fate in a Republican-led
legislature in a state known for its ambivalence toward
In information about Glass posted online by Google, the
company advises those engaged in field tests - dubbed Explorers
- to abide by state laws that limit use of mobile devices while
"Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt
yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road," the
Asked Wednesday about legislation restricting use of devices
like Glass, Google said Explorers should use the device
responsibly and put safety first: "Glass is built to connect you
more with the world around you, not distract you from it."
U.S. travel group AAA said it has "serious concerns about
the safety elements of these technologies" on the road.
"Our feeling and perspective is that safety should take the
greater priority over convenience when it comes to using
personal electronic technology, particularly when driving," AAA
spokeswoman Nancy White said.