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New eyeglass smartphone could pose distracted driving risk

The upcoming release of Samsung’s new smart watch has tech geeks buzzing with excitement. It has all the capabilities of a smartphone, but on a person’s wrist. The commercials highlighting iconic television and movie characters talking into their wrists, followed by a modern day person doing the same thing is likely to generate a mainstream audience.

However, the impending release of Google’s Glass, is really the prize possession for techies. Set for release in 2014, Glass is already generating a controversy between safety advocates and automakers who seek to integrate technology into the driving experience. Glass combines all the capabilities of a smartphone and imbeds it into a tiny computer that sits on one’s eyeglasses. It enables the user to control the phone (and see the display) using voice commands.

The trouble (from the perspective of safety advocates) is that Glass would do more harm than good because drivers would be distracted by yet another mobile device. By looking at the images produced by Glass, drivers would be taking their eyes off the road. However, developers insist that drivers would not be distracted by a constant stream of information and readable content. Instead, drivers would only see short, non-intrusive bits of information while behind the wheel. Essentially, drivers may only see a highlighted intersection or street name as it approaches.

Regardless of the safety risks, drivers will still have a legal duty to use reasonable care while behind the wheel. If they fail to do so due to using Glass or any other mobile device, an offending driver could be held liable.

Source: AdAge.com, Do Chevy execs see a future with Google Glass?, October 6, 2013

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