This woman got a ticket for wearing Google Glass behind the wheel

October 30, 2013

(Cecilia Abadie)

Cecilia Abadie was rolling along a California highway on Tuesday night when she got pulled over for speeding. She was going seventy-something in a 65, no big deal. But then the police officer saw what was on Abadie's face: Google Glass.

Immediately, the officer added a second violation to Abadie's speeding ticket, for using a video screen.

"A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!" Abadie wrote on Google Plus. "Is #GoogleGlass ilegal (sic) while driving or is this cop wrong???"

Turns out the law is real. Under California rules, video screens are prohibited anywhere ahead of the front seats unless they're displaying GPS information, a map, or information about the car itself.

The ticket is also real. A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol wouldn't discuss Abadie's specific case but said that the officer identified on the citation works in the San Diego bureau and that "we wouldn't issue a ticket in jest."

We always knew that, as an emerging product category, wearable tech would inevitably bump up against some existing laws. Now we might have our first example. Google Glass enthusiasts writing on Abadie's profile page seem to think she has a strong case for challenging the ticket. Perhaps if she could prove she had been using turn-by-turn navigation or had the device switched off, Abadie might be able to escape paying the penalty. But that would be up to the traffic court.

Still, you can bet this won't be the last time Glass Explorers have a chance to litigate the issue.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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October 30, 2013

(Cecilia Abadie)

Cecilia Abadie was rolling along a California highway on Tuesday night when she got pulled over for speeding. She was going seventy-something in a 65, no big deal. But then the police officer saw what was on Abadie's face: Google Glass.

Immediately, the officer added a second violation to Abadie's speeding ticket, for using a video screen.

"A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!" Abadie wrote on Google Plus. "Is #GoogleGlass ilegal (sic) while driving or is this cop wrong???"

Turns out the law is real. Under California rules, video screens are prohibited anywhere ahead of the front seats unless they're displaying GPS information, a map, or information about the car itself.

The ticket is also real. A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol wouldn't discuss Abadie's specific case but said that the officer identified on the citation works in the San Diego bureau and that "we wouldn't issue a ticket in jest."

We always knew that, as an emerging product category, wearable tech would inevitably bump up against some existing laws. Now we might have our first example. Google Glass enthusiasts writing on Abadie's profile page seem to think she has a strong case for challenging the ticket. Perhaps if she could prove she had been using turn-by-turn navigation or had the device switched off, Abadie might be able to escape paying the penalty. But that would be up to the traffic court.

Still, you can bet this won't be the last time Glass Explorers have a chance to litigate the issue.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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