In what might be a first, a woman in California received a traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving.
Cecilia Abadie was pulled over for speeding on Tuesday in San Diego and given an additional citation for driving while wearing her Google Glass. The officer considered the head-mounted display a monitor that was visible to the driver. Shocked, Abadie posted a copy of the ticket on Google+.
Traffic laws vary state by state, but many now have broad distracted-driving laws or bans on certain monitors that could easily apply to Google Glass.
The California law cited in Abadie’s case is meant to prevent people from watching television while driving. V C 27602 prohibits televisions and similar monitors from being turned on and facing the driver. There are exceptions for GPS and mapping tools and screens that display camera feeds to help the driver navigate. If a device has a safety feature that limits its display to approved uses while driving, it can be allowed.
“I think the law is broad enough to say it violates the law,” said San Diego attorney Mitchell Mehdy, also known as “Mr. Ticket.” Mehdy has been working in traffic law for 25 years and said this is the first case he’s heard of involving Google Glass.
Abadie says her Google Glass was not turned on when she was pulled over, and that the officer said the screen was blocking her view. The Google Glass display is located slightly above the right eye, not directly in front of the eye.
Google does warn users about running afoul of traffic laws in its Google Glass FAQ: “Most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites. Read up and follow the law!”
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