A software developer who got cited for driving on a California freeway while wearing Google Glass, has pleaded not guilty to the charge and has triumphed as a San Diego traffic court has thrown out the citation.
Even though Google Glass is not yet widely available to the public, a user has already had a run-in with the authorities for wearing it while driving. Cecilia Abadie, a software developer and one of the 30,000 "Explorers" selected to try out the computer-in-an-eyeglass device, was pulled over and given a ticket for speeding on a freeway in San Diego, California. When the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer saw that she was wearing Google Glass, he issued a second citation, this time for driving while a video display was turned on in the front of the vehicle.
Abadie, who wears Google Glass up to 12 hours a day, has pleaded not guilty to both of the charges. The case was tried on Thursday and a San Diego traffic court threw out the citation. Abadie is believed to be the first person to be cited for wearing Google Glass while driving.
Commissioner John Blair ruled that Abadie did not violate any law as the code under which she was cited required proof that the device was in operation while she was driving. The CHP officer, Blair said, could not prove the same beyond reasonable doubt. The language of the code, however, could be interpreted to include Google Glass, Blair noted.
"I believe it's an initial success but we have a long way to go," Abadie told Associated Press, adding that she was slightly disappointed because she had hoped that the judge would rule that it is legal for drivers to wear Google Glass while driving, irrespective of whether it is switched on or not.
Before the hearing, William Concidine, Abadie's attorney, told the Associated Press that the device was not on while she was driving, and the officer "can't prove they were operating."
Google Glass, rolled out just last December to 30,000 software developers for them to try, is a tiny computer mounted on lightweight eyeglass frames that can project a display above the wearer's right eye and can respond to voice commands. The device can be used to check email, or get driving directions, and it can look up information on what the wearing is looking at via its hidden camera and wireless connectivity. The device will be made available to the public later this year.
The CHP stated at the time of Abadie's citation that, "anything which takes a driver's attention from the road is dangerous."
The legislative battle for and against Google Glass seems to have begun, as the states of Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia and Illinois have legislators that are pushing to ban driving with Google Glass.
Google's website says, "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."
The developer site for Google Glass is a little bit more specific, saying Google does not support the use of the technology in situations that "could lead to death, personal injury, or environmental damage (such as the operation of nuclear facilities, air traffic control, or life support systems)."