Well, it was bound to happen and I am so glad it did. It will be a fascinating test case. While driving in San Diego one evening last week, Cecilia Abadie was pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer. The first ticket was for exceeding the speed limit. Fair enough. However, because she was wearing Google Glass, the trooper wrote a second ticket for distracted driving (Justin Pritchard “Driver Gets Ticketed for Google Glass” The Kansas City Star, November 2, 2013, p. A12).
So where do we go from here? Google Glass is specifically designed to be an integrated eyewear device that enhances our human-phone-Internet connections. These kinds of devices are not going away; they will only proliferate as the technology advances, and the demand grows.
This incident again raises the question concerning exactly where we draw that line delineating what you can or cannot do while driving your vehicle. Different states have come up with different answers to that question. In each case, I can follow their logic, but I do not necessarily agree with it.
Here is my position: One fundamental point is sometimes overlooked—individual, intelligent human volition. We should not even try to build the legislative labyrinth that would be needed to regulate every possible device and technology—all of which are ever changing—inside a vehicle. We already have laws about “reckless” driving. They cover it all. Otherwise, if we are going to be consistent, we must ban all conversations among the driver and passengers, and we must ban radios and CD players, because all that activity creates a distraction. While driving, did you ever find yourself daydreaming or needing to scratch an itch? Hey, we need to ban daydreaming and scratching!
Please do not misinterpret me—I am as much for safety on our roads as anyone is. However, in spite of prolific, moronic human failure, I highly prefer to keep these decisions in the driver’s head. Let’s let individuals define their distractions. I happen to think they will do a much better job than the government.