Google Glass just got its first up-close look from the law when a Temecula, Calif., woman was stopped by a police officer and ticketed for speeding and wearing Google Glass while she was driving in San Diego on Oct. 29.
The driver, Cecelia Abadie, 44, who received her Glass device as a Google Glass Explorer back on May 1, quickly posted the details of her traffic stop on her Google+ page, expressing shock about the Glass citation and seeking any and all legal advice.
"A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!" wrote Abadie. "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 U.S.?"
In a telephone interview, Abadie told eWEEK that she was heading north on Interstate 15 from San Diego and heading home in her 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid when she was pulled over by a police officer who said she had been caught speeding. As the officer wrote the ticket, she said he also told her that he was writing her up for wearing Google Glass while driving, which he said was a violation of a law that forbids a driver from having a video screen that is visible while operating a motor vehicle.
"I'm definitely challenging it, mostly because I wasn't using Glass" while driving, said Abadie, who works as a product manager for a golf simulator company and who began a start-up that is developing a personal trainer app for Glass. "Right now, what I have to do is call back a few lawyers who have offered to help. Until you tilt your head or move your head to the side, you are not actively using Glass" or activating it.
She said she was using her car's built-in navigation system just before she was stopped by the police officer.
"Actually, I was surprised about both" infractions, she said. "I was confused about which [speed] zone I was in."
Once she was pulled over, the officer "was asking me all these questions like I was a criminal because I was wearing Google Glass," said Abadie. "I said, 'hold on, this is not illegal, right?' And he said it actually is illegal."
So far, there has been a lot of reaction to her Google+ post about her traffic stop, she said, with more than 500 comments being left by visitors so far. "It is a very tight Google Explorers community," which she is part of, she said. "In the end, it is a discussion worth having. Some people are scared about new technology and they think that this is going to add to the problem of texting while driving. This could be a solution. It's something to look at and debate."
In the meantime, she said, "We need to understand where we legally stand and where we want to go."