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Google Glassholes to be BANNED from UK roads

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UK regulators are reportedly moving forward with a plan to ensure that Google Glass users don't wear their headsets while driving, well before the controversial eyewear even reaches Blighty's shores.

The gadget magazine Stuff reports that the Chocolate Factory's high-tech specs have not gone unnoticed by the UK Department for Transport (DfT), which considers them a potential road hazard.

"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 the magazine.

This isn't the first time such concerns have been raised. In March, West Virginia Delegate Gary Howell sponsored a bill that would ban Glass from that state's roads, although it doesn't seem to have gained much traction.

It's not clear whether any similar legislation targeting Glass is in the works in the UK, but according to the DfT, there are already plenty of laws on the books that could be applied to drivers who insist on wearing their headsets behind the wheel.

"A range of offences and penalties already exist to tackle those drivers who do not pay proper attention to the road including careless driving which will become a fixed penalty offence later this year," the spokesperson observed.

Mind you, there's still plenty of time for the DfT to craft its policies. So far, the Chocolate Factory's Google Glass Explorer program is only open to US residents, and there's been no word as to when it might be extended to other regions. Presumably, UK residents won't be able to get their hands on it until the commercial version becomes available.

But all of this heat could be bad news for the Google Glass developer community, many of whom are already working on apps targeting drivers. German automaker Mercedes-Benz is reportedly developing a Glass-based navigation app, for example, and an app called GlassTesla offers Tesla Model S owners a variety of controls for their electric cars.

Stuff quoted a Google spokesperson as saying, "We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues" – which is the stock response Google always gives whenever such issues are actually raised.

For the DfT, on the other hand, what requires more thought is not Google's technology, but driving safety.

"It is important that drivers give their full attention to the road when they are behind the wheel and do not behave in a way that stops them from observing what is happening on the road," a department spokesperson said. ®

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