Cecilia Abadie wearing Google Glass

Cecilia Abadie wearing Google Glass. Image is a screen capture from a video she posted on YouTube.

News reports are saying that a California woman might be the first person ever ticketed for driving while wearing Google Glass. As Carscoops writes: “Many believe that using Google Glass while driving can be, if not a direct safety hazard, certainly a distraction.”

Cecilia Abadie, 44, who lives in Temecula, CA, was given a citation for driving while wearing her Google Glass, after being pulled over for speeding on Tuesday in San Diego, writes Tony Perry for the Los Angeles Times. The officer based the ticket on a California law that says people are not permitted to watch television while driving, writes Heather Kelly for CNN. She adds that the officer considered the head-mounted display (a tiny computer screen that perches slightly above a person’s right eye) to be a monitor.

She writes:

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.

Perry reports that California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials say that although there is no official count, they believe this is the first ticket issued in the state to a driver wearing Google Glass. CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez told Perry that discouraging distracted driving is a priority: “Anything that takes your attention away from driving — putting on makeup, eating food, talking to a passenger, watching a video, talking on the phone — is dangerous.” Sanchez added that each officer is allowed to make a judgment as to whether a law has been violated.

In a statement, Google said that Google Glass is meant to help wearers be in contact with the world, not to make them distracted from something important like driving, Perry writes. Brett Molina writes for USA TODAY that Abadie says she was not actually using Google Glass while she was driving: “Glass was not on and I honestly don’t use it much while driving but I do wear.”

Kelly writes the following, suggesting there is a contradiction in what Google says:

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!’

However, in another section on navigation, it says Glass can give turn-by-turn directions, ‘whether you’re on a bike, in a car, taking the subway, or going by foot.’

The ticket issued to Abadie would have a mandatory minimum fine of $162, Kelly writes. Abadie, who has given a TED talk called “Our New Digital Brain,” posted the following early on Tuesday on Google+:

A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!

The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass).

Is #GoogleGlass [illegal] while driving or is this cop wrong???

Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?

In a related story, Carscoops reports that Mercedes-Benz has developed a new navigation system that uses Google Glass with a voice-activated interface. The app will be available once GG is sold commercially. GG, still in beta testing, is currently only available to a few developers for $1,500.

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