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Friday, Jul 25, 2014
Offbeat Stories

Driver expects to fight Google Glass ticket


Published:

LOS ANGELES – A Southern California woman cited for wearing Internet-connected eyeglasses while driving plans to contest the citation.

Cecilia Abadie was pulled over for speeding Tuesday evening in San Diego, when a California Highway Patrol officer noticed she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to drivers who may be distracted by a video or TV screen.

The lightweight eyeglasses, which are not yet widely available to the public, feature a hidden computer and a thumbnail-size transparent display screen above the right eye. Users can scan maps for directions – as well as receive web search results, read email and engage in video chats – without reaching for a smartphone.

Abadie, a software developer, said in an interview that she was not using her Google Glass when she was pulled over for allegedly going about 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on the drive home to Temecula after visiting a friend.

“The Glass was on, but I wasn’t actively using it” to conserve the battery, she said.

Abadie expressed surprise that wearing the glasses while driving would be illegal and said she’s “pretty sure” she will fight the ticket. First, she said, she needs to seek legal counsel. In the flurry of online commentary her traffic stop has generated, several people saying they are attorneys offered their services.

“The law is not clear, the laws are very outdated,” Abadie said, suggesting that navigating with the device could be less distracting than with a GPS unit or phone.

“Maybe Glass is more a solution to the cellphone problem than a problem,” she said.

It’s unclear whether a citation for Google Glass has been issued before. The CHP said it is not sure whether an officer within its own ranks has written one, and an agency spokesman pointed out hundreds of law enforcement agencies in California alone can write traffic tickets.

Legislators in at least two states, Delaware and West Virginia, have introduced bills that would specifically ban driving with Google Glass. Authorities in the United Kingdom are mulling a similar ban.

About 10,000 units have been distributed so far in the United States to “pioneers,” and this week Google announced another 30,000 would be available for $1,500 apiece. Abadie said she got hers in May and has become an “evangelist” for the technology.

A spokesman for Google did not reply to a request for comment. On its website, Google says this about using the headgear while driving: “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.”

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