Traffic Court Tosses Case Against Google Glass-Wearing Motorist
A San Diego woman believed to be the first person ticketed for driving while wearing Google Glass has been found not guilty.
Cecilia Abadie was pulled over by a California Highway Patrol officer in October 2013 and cited with speeding and driving while wearing the search engine company’s latest innovation, a tiny computer mounted to an eyeglass frame, the Associated Press reported.
A traffic court commissioner tossed both citations following a Jan. 16 hearing.
Of the charge related to Google Glass, Commissioner John Blair said, “There is no testimony it was operating or in use while Ms. Abadie was driving,” Reuters reported. The speeding citation was dismissed because an expert who was to testify to the calibration of the patrol officer’s speedometer failed to appear.
Following the hearing, Abadie used Google Glass to capture an image of the commissioner’s ruling, which she then posted to her Google Plus page along with the simple message, “found not guilty.”
Abadie, an app developer, is among the thousands of people testing Google Glass for the California-based tech giant. The device overlays various information in the wearer’s sightline and can also take voice commands to perform tasks such as recording video or taking pictures.
On its website, Google touts the wearable computer as being able to translate road signs in foreign languages and help golfers in measuring distance, among other functions. Glass is expected to be released to the public later this year at a cost of $1,500, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
“I believe we need to start experimenting with devices like this,” Abadie said outside the courthouse, according to Reuters. “As a hands-free device it is safer than a cell phone.”
California doesn’t have a law specific to Google Glass, but Abadie was cited under a statute that prohibits drivers from viewing video or television. A violation of the statute carries a fine of less than $300, the Union-Tribune reported. Although Commissioner Blair said Google’s new device would fall under that law, he found no evidence to support the claim that it was in operation while Abadie was driving.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get into the larger issue of whether driving with Google Glass while [the device] is operating is a violation or not,” lawyer William Concidine, who represented Abadie, told the newspaper. “I think the next step is, what’s the Legislature going to say?”