The ongoing legal ramifications of using Google Glass have taken a turn this week, after a Glass wearing driver was stopped in California, and given a ticket partially based on the fact she was wearing Glass at the time. Glass Explorer Cecelia Abadie posted about the unexpected fine on her Google+ page, saying, “A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!”
She posted a picture of the ticket, which gives one of the reasons as, “Driving with monitor visible to driver,” and clarification the monitor was Google Glass. Abadie asked on Google+ if Glass was illegal to use while driving, and called for anyone else who had received a ticket like it to let her know.
It appears it’s the first of its type, and according to the ticket, the section of the law Abadie broke is 27602. By visiting the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, you can see the rule is you can’t drive a car if you can see a monitor, screen or display, particularly if it’s showing TV. GPS systems and in-car displays are exempt, but overall it could be interpreted to cover heads-up displays which aren’t standard equipment, like Google Glass.
Naturally, Abadie’s fellow Glass Explorers are up in arms over the ticket, claiming as Glass doesn’t show TV broadcasts it’s not covered, and that strictly, it should fall under the same classification as a Bluetooth headset, seeing as it doesn’t do much if it’s not tethered to a smartphone.
All the noise does obscure one key fact about this story, that it doesn’t look like Abadie was actually stopped for wearing Google Glass, but more because she was traveling 10 or 15mph over the speed limit. Had she not, all this probably wouldn’t have happened. However, if Abadie decides to fight the second violation in court, it could force some clarification on using Google Glass while driving. In the UK, it’s expected Glass will be put in the same category as mobile phones, meaning it’ll be illegal to drive while wearing them.
It’ll be interesting to see if this situation prompts any action to clarify the use of Glass by drivers, either positively or negatively, in America.