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Should Google be blamed for distracted drivers?

Google and driver distractionTechnology has never advanced as quickly as it does today. However, traditionally speaking, traffic laws always tend to be at least one step behind the developing technology. A little more than six years ago, we saw the first state law prohibiting texting while driving. At that time, texting was already imbedded into the mainstream culture.

The latest technological advancement that is expected to cause some controversy is the Google Glass. This leads to many legal experts wondering just how federal and state laws will be impacted by wearable technology.

The case that brings this to our attention

The case that might set precedent for this involves Cecelia Abadie from California. She received a citation in November for driving while wearing these high-tech glasses. Abadie (who works as a technology entrepreneur and was actively testing the Google Glass) was originally stopped for speeding, but also received a second citation later for using a ‘monitor’ while operating her vehicle. However, because the court found no evidence of the Google Glass operating when Abadie was pulled over, the court dismissed the citation.

More About Google Glass

The Google Glass features lightweight frames that come equipped with a tiny display and a hidden camera. The Google Glass will respond to voice commands. It is possible to use the device to get driving directions, learn background information about something the wearer is looking at, or check email. There is already legislation pending in three states (West Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware) that would prohibit someone from driving while wearing Google Glass.

Google’s own website even warns users to follow the law as it applies in the user’s state. They even suggest that even when following the law, it is important to pay attention to the road and not hurt yourself or others. It is unlikely that Google could be held responsible for any accidents involved using Google Glass.

The Dangers of Distracted Driving For People On The Road

While in this particular case the driver had her case dismissed, the prevalence of entertainment devices, personal communication, and new technology makes the potential for distractions on the road very high. Even though distracted driving is not a new problem, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation have started to refer to distracted driving as an ‘epidemic’.

Because it affects so many Americans, it is hard to overlook the damage that distracted driving cause. In 2010 alone, a distracted driver was involved in 3,092 fatal car accidents. Similar accidents led to an estimated 416,000 victims that year. In fact, the amount of distraction-affected crashes rivals the number of drunk driving accidents, causing a massive 18% of injury-causing accidents in 2010.

Preventing Distracted Driving Accidents

While organization and government efforts are in place to combat distracted driving, it is a problem that is still constantly increasing. This may result in and bicycle accidents, multi-vehicle car accidents, or single-vehicle crashes. Regardless of what the specifics are, these types of accidents can easily be prevented and are directly attributable to driver negligence. If you are involved in an accident involving a distracted driver, whether it be a smartphone, MP3 player, or wearable device, it is important to understand that you may be eligible to receive compensation for financial, emotional, and physical damages suffered.