Google Glass and Distracted Driving

Recently, we published a post on cell phone use and distracted driving. Distracted driving causes many accidents, and comes in many forms. As technology progresses, and we access to more “toys”, the distractions surrounding a driver multiple. Just a decade ago the biggest distracting driving worries were food and drink and the radio. With the invention of MP3 Players, GPS systems and cell phones, the average driver had a plethora of electronic devices all vying for his attention. Then came along the smart phone, putting the MP3 player, GPS and cell phone all in one, creating a one-distracts-all electronic device.

Now Google has come out with their new interface called Glass. For those that aren’t familiar, Glass is a wearable computer interface similar to the virtual reality glasses of yesteryear. They contain a screen, and accept voice commands, allowing you to take pictures, record video, get GPS directions and perform many other functions hands free while wearing Glass. for more information visit the Google Glass website.

The hands-free voice-activated nature of Google Glass would seemingly make it driver friendly, right? Apparently, police officers disagree. In a situation which may set precedent for traffic tickets to come, a California police officer gave a woman a traffic ticket for distracted driving due to her use of her Google Glass. Given the police officer was siting California law that forbids any video display screen or device from being used by a driver while operating a motor vehicle, Connecticut law is similar.

Connecticut General Statute 14-296aa is that statute that governs the use of hand held mobile phones and other mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. Under 14-296aa, a driver is forbidden from using a mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, and defines mobile electronic devices as:

“any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more persons, including a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, equipment that is capable of playing a video game or a digital video disk, or equipment on which digital photographs are taken or transmitted, or any combination thereof, but does not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation, emergency assistance to the operator of such motor vehicle or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of such motor vehicle.” CGS § 14-296aa(b)(1)

It is obvious that the features of Google Glass make it an electronic mobile device, making the use of such a device a ticketable offense.

Besides the fact that using Google Glass while driving could get you fined, it is made a traffic violation because it causes distracted driving, creating a dangerous situation for the driver and all other cars around them. Further, the effects of getting a ticket for distracted driving when in a car accident could be severe. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and receive a ticket for distracted driving, the other party is going to use that fact against you. Their insurance company will use the fact to try and put all the blame on you and deny your claim, or downplay their clients liability and pay you as little as possible for your injuries.

Please be aware that using any electronic device that falls under “mobile electronic device” under CGS 14-296aa(b)(1) could get you a ticket, or worse. We need to work together as a community, and a country, to stop distracted driving.

If you have any questions on distracted driving law in Connecticut, or if you or a loved one have been injured by a distracted driver, contact us today.