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Google Glass user to fight 'wearing while driving' ticket in court

Google Glass
Google GlassWikimedia Commons

We first wrote about Cecilia Abadie when she made legal history in October: She reportedly became the first person to be ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving. On Thursday, the AP reported, she has her (first) day in court.

Abadie was originally pulled over for speeding, driving 80 in a 65 MPH zone. However, the officer noted she was wearing Google Glass smartglasses, and added a citation for that as well. The law in question would appear to be this one:

27602. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

Abadie, a software developer who wears Google Glass up to 12 hours a day, said the following:

It’s a big responsibility for me and also for the judge who is going to interpret a very old law compared with how fast technology is changing.

Her attorney, William Concidine, said the device was not turned on when Abadie was driving and that "The officer can’t prove they (the glasses) were operating."

Although California appears to have a statute that broadly covers Google Glass, it's up to a judge to decide if it can be applied in this case. Meanwhile, legislators in at least three states -- Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia -- have introduced bills that would ban specifically driving with Google Glass.

Although Abadie believes the California law is out of touch with modern times, a glance around the roads of the state shows far too many people participating in distracted driving. They weave through traffic erratically, either eschewing hands-free devices or ignoring the no-texting law.

It's clear why Google is investing in self-driving cars; it is the only way that it can continue to push its services into the automotive realm without running afoul of the law -- or causing accidents.

In addition, comments at the AP story linked above show that many people are in the "enough is enough; stop with all the distracted driving" camp.

trueendurance said:

If you are going to wear Google Glass while driving.... you might as well go the whole distance and install a large screen TV in the front seat....

Google better get going on those self-driving cars... because we are going to need them.

Ihavemyhats wrote:

Please Mr Judge, ban them. I am so sick of people who can't pay attention while driving, walking, etc. because they are using their 'smart' phones. Such as the ones who stop in the middle of cross walks, on the stairs in T stations with hundreds of people also getting off the trains behind them. I am on a campaign - I will not go around and I will hit them all with my big honking purse full of actual books. Be warned!

Dannob39-redux

If you're looking at the display then you're not looking at the road. Take the damn thing off while driving.

At the same time, though, replies to these comments show that there are plenty in the other camp. These are, we assume, the same people who would text or email while driving.

Google's website contains an advisory for Glass users:

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.

Update: The case was thrown out of court, because the statute requires the device to be operating.