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If Driver Has Accident Wearing Google Glass, Should Google Get Sued?

Apr 24, 2014

Lawmakers in a number of states are introducing legislation to ban the use of Google Glass and similar devices while behind the wheel.

Marcos Crespo, New York assemblyman from the Bronx, is prepared to go even further, introducing a bill to allow victims of car crashes to sue Google and other manufacturers if a driver involved in the accident was using a wearable device, The New York Times reports. Crespo argues this is needed because the improper use of these devices “will lead to death.”

But critics ask how Google is to blame if someone uses a device improperly, and wonder if, by that reasoning, Apple should be liable for damages every time someone crashes a car while texting from an iPhone. They point out that people already have the right to sue manufacturers if a device malfunctions and causes an accident. Google argues that Glass should not be banned for drivers because the device can assist the driver, by displaying navigation information, for example. Google officials claim Glass is less distracting than a smartphone because drivers look up to use it, as they do to check the rearview mirror, according to the Times. But, the Times notes, Glass can also be used to check email, search the Web, and play games — activities that distract drivers. The National Safety Council and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) have raised concerns about how devices distract drivers, and they say accident data indicates that crashes where cellphone use is involved are seriously underreported, according to the Boston Herald.

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