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Chicago legislator wants to bar drivers from using Google Glass

Google’s new computerized glasses aren’t on sale to the general public yet, but the devices already have lawmakers in Illinois and other states concerned they’ll become the latest deadly distraction for drivers.

Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) filed legislation Tuesday to bar drivers from using the Google Glass devices, which allow wearers to search the Internet, make phone calls and check email.

“It’s just another way people will be distracted,” Silverstein said. “People’s attention to the road should not be interrupted.”

Silverstein’s measure would piggyback on the state’s new law that bans drivers from using cellphones unless they’re speaking with a hands-free device.

Legislators in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia also have introduced bills that would specifically ban driving with Google Glass, which features a thumbnail-size transparent video display on a lens in front of the user’s right eye.

The device is built into frames that look like eyeglasses. The technology won’t be made widely available to the public until 2014, but about 10,000 “explorers” received the glasses earlier this year as part of a tryout.

One of those “explorers” is already in trouble for driving while wearing the device. Cecilia Abadie, a California software developer, was pulled over in October on suspicion of going 80 miles an hour in a 65 mph zone on a San Diego freeway. A California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle. Abadie pleaded not guilty to both charges on Tuesday.

Google spokeswoman Anna Richardson White said wearers should use the technology responsibly and make safety a priority.

“Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it,” Richardson White said.

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