Woman's citation for driving while wearing Google Glass could set legal precedent for future devices

Cecilia Abadie is first person to receive ticket

SAN DIEGO - A Temecula woman posted on her social media account that she was cited for driving while wearing Google Glass.

A California Highway Patrol officer issued a citation early Tuesday evening to Cecilia Abadie, who was wearing the Google Glass device, in violation of state Vehicle Code 27602, CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez said. She initially was pulled over for allegedly speeding on Interstate 15 near Aero Drive.

She was eventually ticketed for allegedly driving too fast as well as for wearing her Google Glass headset, Sanchez said.

To further clarify Abadie's citation, the CHP said:

"CHP stopped the motorist for speeding and subsequently issued a citation for speeding and for driving with a monitor visible in violation of California Vehicle Code 27602. That section states that it is against the law in California for a motorist to 'drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver's seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.'"

After the incident, Abadie posted the following on her public Google+ account:

"A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing a Google Glass while driving!
The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass).
Is #GoogleGlass ilegal 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?"

Abadie, whose account says that she works for San Diego-based Full Swing Golf, Inc., also posted a copy of the citation issued by the CHP officer.

She told 10News, "I was wearing it because I do wear it all day, but I was not using it. A lot of people don't understand how the device works … and the fact that you're wearing it even if the device is turned on doesn't mean that you're watching it or using it actively."

"I don't know how it works; I haven't actually used it myself, so I can't tell you how it turns on or turns off or how it looks when it's being operated," Sanchez told 10News.

Sanchez said he knew of no other case in which anyone in the state was cited for using the equipment, which is not yet available to the public at large, while behind the wheel.

Abadie did not comment about the speeding charge, but said, "My main thing is I was not using it, I was just wearing it … and this is completely the truth."

Google Glass is worn like a pair of glasses, and it comes with clear and tinted lenses to wear with the device. It projects a small computer screen into a crystal display above the user's right eye.

Simple voice commands or a light touch to the side control the device. It can send emails, take pictures and video, search the Internet and download apps.

According to ABC News, Abadie is one of Google Glass' early adopters, or Google Explorer.

In a question-and-answer section on its website for the technology, Google notes that "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!" the statement continues. "Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road."

Google Glass will not be available to the general public until 2014.

With so many technological devices becoming a part of our everyday lives, traffic ticket expert and attorney Mitchell Mehdy says this is just the beginning.

Mehdy has been fighting traffic violations for 25 years. He says with so little known about the Google Glass, this will not be the last we see of this type of citation.

"The issue is going to be is it as dangerous wearing Google glasses as it is having your cellphone while you're driving, looking at your cellphone out when you can be looking straight at the road at the same time? And I would argue no," he said.

Mehdy says he does not believe Abadie will be convicted in this case. However, he says it will set a legal precedent.

"I foresee revisions in the law, but I also see possibly the raise of the fine amount," he said.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments