Ticketed Google Glass Driver in California Has Case Dismissed

Cecelia Abadie was ticketed for speeding and wearing Google Glass while driving last October near San Diego. She took her case to court and won.

Wearing Google Glass while driving is apparently not the same thing as using Google Glass while driving, at least according to a California traffic court judge who on Jan. 16 heard what is believed to be the first traffic ticket case in the United States involving the futuristic device.

San Diego Traffic Court Commissioner John Blair dismissed a ticket for speeding and wearing Google Glass that had been filed against Cecelia Abadie, 44, of Temecula, Calif., after he ruled that the arresting officer had not observed her actually using the head-mounted computer, Abadie's attorney, William Concidine, told eWEEK.

"When he testified, he testified that he saw her wearing Google Glass," Concidine said of the California State Patrol officer who had ticketed her last Oct. 29 as she was heading north on Interstate 15 from San Diego in her 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid. "But at no time did he testify that he saw it in use. Because he did not establish the element that it was operating, he failed to prove his own case," Concidine said. "He never testified to anything being an image on Google Glass or that it was lit up. Miss Abadie would have testified that she was not operating it" while she was driving.

Blair also dismissed the speeding charge against Abadie, who works as a product manager for a golf simulator company and who began a startup that is developing a personal trainer app for Glass.

Abadie told eWEEK in a phone interview that she is pleased with the court's decision.

"I feel very good that the law … worked exactly the way it should have," she said. "My friends who are also [Google Glass] Explorers, they were very happy about this decision, too. They love to drive with Glass and they feel it is safe."

Abadie said that as a hands-free device while driving, she likes using Glass and feels it is safer to use than other hands-free devices, such as hands-free enabled smartphones. "Instead of reading a text [a user receives while driving] you can say, 'OK Glass, read it out loud,'" said Abadie. "Glass is pretty safe if you use it reasonably. With the current law, it's almost impossible to prove if someone would be using it while they are driving."

In December 2013, Abadie decided to go to court to fight the original charges against her. At a hearing, she pleaded not guilty and had her trial date set for Jan. 16. She argued at the hearing that she was only wearing the device and not using it when she was stopped.