Google Glass: Driver Distraction cause or cure?

by | Dec 15, 2020

This study has now been covered on Reuters, ForbesWired, Engadget, The Daily Mail, Fast CompanyThe Washington Post and many more.


Google Glass is a Driving Distraction, but Points the Way to Less Disruptive Message Delivery


The first peer reviewed study of driving and texting with Google Glass shows the novel device to be less distracting in some ways than an Android phone, but still dangerous compared to just driving.  Conducted at The University of Central Florida in partnership with Air Force Research Laboratories (AFRL), the study reveals users messaging on Glass or a smartphone both reacted slowly to an unexpected obstacle as compared to those just driving with the devices present.,  Glass did help messaging users recover from suddenly hitting the brakes and return to normal driving more quickly. The paper, to be published in the journal Human Factors, also found that drivers using Glass followed cars ahead much more closely after the close call, suggesting Glass imparts a reduced perception of risk.  Finally, simply wearing Glass without using it resulted in poorer vehicle control during recovery. Lead researcher Ben D. Sawyer cautioned potential Glass users, “While Glass-delivered messaging has benefits, it does not in any way make driving-while-messaging safe.”

Driving distraction has been described as an epidemic by The U.S. Department of Transportation.  In 2012, over 3000 Americans were killed in distraction related crashes.  Text messaging and cell phone use is now banned in a majority of states, but questions remain as to whether Google Glass falls under these laws.  In October of 2013, a California woman was cited for driving with the device, but in early 2014 the ticket was dismissed.  Lawmakers, including Ira Silverstein of Illinois, are working now to write new legislation for this new generation of wearable technology.  The paper released today, entitled “Google Glass: Driving Distraction Cause or Cure?”, provides important new evidence for both sides of the debate.  Authors note that despite not being a cure-all for driving distraction, Google Glass is an improvement over a smartphone, an important consideration in a world where drivers face increasing distractions behind the wheel.

Read it here.


Sawyer, B. D., Finomore, V. S., Calvo, A. A., & Hancock, P. A. (2014). Google glass: a driver distraction cause or cure? Human Factors56(7), 1307-1321.

Finally to the Reddit Users who mistook this for a UFC study on driving and Glass, you made my day.