Is it Legal to Use Apple Vision Pro While Driving?

Man using Apple Vision Pro while driving

You’ve probably seen one of those videos circulating around the internet where someone is driving a car and wearing the new Apple Vision Pro headset. Many of the videos are being filmed simply for social media reactions. However, it begs the question of whether or not it is legal to drive while wearing the Apple Vision Pro.

How Does the Apple Vision Pro Work?

Before getting into the legalese of whether or not you can drive with the Vision Pro, it is important to understand how it actually works. A common misconception is that the Vision Pro is like augmented reality glasses like Microsoft’s Hololens. Although the Vision Pro has a pass-through function, it does not work like conventional AR glasses.

Augmented reality lets you see through the lenses and into the world around you. In comparison, the Vision Pro uses cameras to show you the outside world on an LCD display. That difference may seem minor, but it could be a defining line in the future. For instance, AR glasses could overlay things like directions and speed without obstructing the wearer’s field of view.

This is similar to the heads-up display found in many vehicles. However, the Vision Pro’s use of cameras to display the world means you are left with a black screen if the device fails while driving. Whereas a truly AR device would still let you see the outside world even if it suddenly died.

What the Law Says About Using Vision Pro While Driving?

Driving laws vary dramatically across the world and even between states if you live in the US. However, driving while wearing a VR headset like the Vision Pro is generally illegal. Because VR is such a new technology, most places have not updated their laws to specify that the new technology cannot be used while driving.

Nonetheless, most states have broad distracted driving laws that ban the use of anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Additionally, some countries have more specific laws that ban the use of cell phones and certain electronic devices. Many of these laws still need to be updated to explicitly add VR and mixed-reality headsets.

Outside of just wearing the headset, some laws ban certain activities, such as watching a movie or talking, rather than prohibiting the use of a phone or electronic device. Additionally, most states in the US do not allow drivers to have earbuds or headphones on both ears while driving. Keep in mind that the Vision Pro also uses hand movements, which would require the driver to take their hands off the wheel.

In short, wearing an Apple Vision Pro headset while driving in the US and most other countries is illegal. Even though wearing a VR or mixed reality headset is not explicitly banned in most places, they would fall under existing laws. Distracted driving is the most obvious, but it could fall under other laws.

Wearing a VR headset while driving could actually break multiple laws, which leading to very high fines. Those would be even worse if you were to get in an accident while wearing the headset. Remember that law enforcement may not be familiar with the exact laws surrounding VR. This means you could be pleading your case in court, even if wearing a Vision Pro is technically legal.

There are videos circulating online of people using self-driving mode on their Teslas while wearing a Vision Pro. However, most distracted driving laws do not have exemptions for self driving yet. That means drivers must still have eyes on the road at all times. The US Secretary of Transportation even put out a statement to remind drivers that wearing the Vision Pro while driving is illegal.

Potential Changes to Driving Laws in the Future

Although driving laws are pretty vague right now in most areas, you can expect some significant changes in the coming years. Municipalities will likely expand laws to include VR and mixed-reality headsets in the short term. That means explicit bans on driving while wearing a Vision Pro headset, and they could also stiffen the penalties for using such devices.

Looking further out, things will likely change drastically as companies continue working on self-driving technologies. It is very possible that laws could change if drivers no longer needed to be in control of their cars. Of course, we are probably still a decade or more away from that being the case. In the meantime, you must keep your Vision Pro off of your head while driving.

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