Google Glass ‘no safer’ than phones for texting while driving (Wired UK)


Google Glass
Google GlassGoogle


Don’t text and drive, kids, not even if you’re using high-tech,
hands-free goggles to do so.

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have concluded
in a safety study that texting using Google Glass to text
while driving is clearly a distraction. They also discovered,
however, that Glass wearers were more capable of regaining control
of their vehicles than smartphone users
following traffic incidents.

The peer-reviewed study was the first to examine the impact of
Glass on driving, and was conducted with the hope of finding new
ways for technology to deliver information to drivers with minimal
risk. “As destructive influences threaten to become more common and
numerous in drivers’ lives, we find the limited benefits provided
by Glass a hopeful sign of technological solutions to come,” said
researcher Ben Sawyer.

Sawyer has investigated how distractions impact human-machine
interactions in many different contexts. Previous research he and his team at the University of Central
Florida conducted found that it didn’t make any difference to
driving performance if study participants were using their own
phone or unfamiliar phones.

For the Google Glass, he used 40 participants in this particular
study and examined how they reacted while being forced to slam on
their breaks to avoid an accident while using either Glass or a
smartphone in a car simulator. Those texting using Glass didn’t
react any faster than those texting smartphones, although they did
return to driving normally more quickly afterwards. “Compared to
those just driving, multitaskers reacted more slowly, preserved
less headway during the brake event, and subsequently adopted
greater following distances,” says Sawyer.

He also discovered that Glass drivers tend to follow cars ahead much more closely,
which suggests that even just wearing Glass could cause drivers to
lose control. “While Glass-delivered messaging has benefits, it
does not in any way make driving-while-messaging safe,” he
said.

In the UK the law currently states that using a mobile phone
while driving is against the law. Drivers are allowed to use
hands-free phones, sat-navs and two-way radios to communicate, but
you can still get in trouble with police and potentially face a
fine if they believe you are distracted.

According to UK charity Brake, up to 22 percent of road traffic accidents could be caused by
distracted drivers. It encourages all drivers to make the Brake pledge to never
take or make calls when driving and keep phones out of sight or on
silent.

Google itself has some advice for Glass-wearing drivers, and
that advice is: “Read up and follow the law! Above all, even
when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by
failing to pay attention to the road.”

We asked the company if it had anything to add in light of the
study, but we hadn’t heard back at the time of publishing.

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26 September 2014 | 12:49 pm – Source: wired.co.uk

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