Google Glass Off Road? Why Cops Ticketed Glasses Explorer Cecilia Abadie In California

on October 30 2013 12:01 PM

Using Google Glass in public still poses plenty of legal ambiguities currently being debated in the tech community, but that apparently won’t prevent police from ticketing you if they catch you wearing Glass on the road.

Cecilia Abadie, a Google Glass explorer, discovered that the hard way when police pulled her over and ticketed her in San Diego, Calif. on Tuesday for wearing the smart glasses while operating a vehicle. The ticket, which she uploaded on Google Plus no less, described Abadie’s violation as “Driving w/ monitor visible to driver (Google Glass).”

googleglass Cecilia Abadie, a Google Glass explorer, was ticketed by police for driving with the smart glasses.  Google Plus / Cecelia Abadie

As Abadie’s fellow Glass Explorer, Matt Abdou noted in the thread, the law referenced is called V C Section 27602 Television, and prohibits drivers from operating vehicles 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 … visible to the driver...”

The law exempts GPS devices, parking assist camera monitors, and “interlocking” devices that automatically disable when the vehicle is in motion.

Many Glass users have rallied to Abadie’s defense, pointing out potential legal inconsistencies between the law and the citation and urging her to contest the ticket. But while the majority of Glass advocates seem to agree that Abadie’s case could set an important legal precedent, they are divided on just exactly how she ought to fight the ticket.

In the original Google Plus thread, several supporters have encouraged Abadie to argue for Glass’ use on its basis as a navigation device. Yet others have rejected that notion, writing that unlike new navigational systems, Google Glass “is not built to disable itself to block user interaction when moving.”  

“The [heads-up display] angle is more compelling, as it's lawful and intended to be in the drivers straight ahead view,” one Google Plus user wrote.

“I would contest the ticket on the basis that the unit wasn't active at the time of the alleged offence. It should then be for the police to prove otherwise,” wrote another.

Abdou himself even offered to help Abadie fight the ticket in court, writing, “This law is to prevent people from watching TV in their car. Seriously. You don't need an attorney for this, you can beat this by yourself. I have won several tickets in court. I'll fly down there to help you in court if you like.”

View a video below of Cecilia Abadie giving a presentation about Google Glass at TEDxOrangeCoast.

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