ALBANY – The father of the original law banning cellphone use while driving now has a new target: Google Glass.
Before the eyeglass-wearing smartphone hits the retail market sometime this year, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Brooklyn Democrat, says the devices should be just as illegal for drivers as cellphones.
“It’s a distraction for drivers,” Ortiz said, as his new bill introduced Monday.
Ortiz, who authored the 2000 New York law that was the nation’s first to ban use of hand-held phones while driving, said he came to his conclusion following a tour last year of the Google headquarters in California.
“While there, someone made the comment that Google Glass is better than having a hand-held cellphone in your hands because you can continue driving and have conversations,’’ Ortiz said Tuesday. “So, I tried it, and they were wrong.”
Ortiz said the combination of the information displayed on the Glass and the ability to use it as a phone should keep it away from drivers in New York.
“It’s dangerous to the public safety,” Ortiz said Tuesday. “This legislation is about addressing a public safety issue. You cannot be driving and try to believe you can have a Google Glass and have a normal conversation, because it’s not going to happen.
“It’s very difficult. It’s very distracting, and I think before anyone wants to try … we need to take action before the bird gets out of the cage.”
Google fans insist the device is safe, and they have been touting a new app unveiled this week that alerts drowsy drivers if they are nodding off while on the road.