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Google Glass faces driving ban across UK as distraction concerns mount

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Google Glass road (1024px)
Google Glass road (1024px)

Before Google Glass even reaches consumers, the UK Department for Transport is working to forbid drivers from donning the futuristic device behind the wheel. And its argument is simple: Glass takes your attention off the road. "We are aware of the impending rollout of Google Glass and are in discussion with the police to ensure that individuals do not use this technology while driving," a DfT spokesperson told Stuff.

Currently in its still-growing Explorer phase, Glass has already seen bans in locations sensitive to stealth photography (i.e. casinos), and there's also been early pushback from some restaurants and bars that oppose Google's headset from a social perspective. But a proper driving ban could be a major hindrance to Google's take-it-everywhere pitch; you'd be unable to use Glass for navigation purposes, for instance. Innovation among app developers for in-car Glass scenarios could also be a casualty if such bans gain momentum; West Virginia and Delaware are already considering bills on the subject.

Focusing on Glass means your eyes aren't on the road

The UK government isn't yet outlining specifically which laws or regulations effectively forbid Glass. But it's easy to envision laws against distracted driving — the penalties for which are constantly growing more severe — being expanded to factor in Google's device. Your hands may be free, but focusing your eyes on Glass means taking them away from the road — an unsettling feeling we've experienced firsthand. And while Google insists there are obvious "tells" when users are snapping photos with Glass, it's all but impossible for cops to gauge whether the device is actively being used by passing motorists. Glass has genuine potential as a driving companion, but you may never get to experience those benefits if Google fails to negate the risks. We've reached out to the company for comment.