updated 06:31 pm EST, Thu January 16, 2014
Police cite visible-monitor law
A California driver is reportedly set for one of the first legal skirmishes over the use of Google Glass while driving. After being pulled over for traveling 80mph in a 65mph zone on Interstate 15 near San Diego, Cecilia Abadie received a second citation for "driving with a monitor visible" due to the electronic eyewear.
California Vehicle Code Section 27602 prohibits anyone from driving 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 while driving the motor vehicle."
The law provides several exceptions for certain equipment "installed in a vehicle," including vehicle information displays, GPS and mapping displays, or monitors that supplement the driver's view forward, behind or to the sides of the vehicle.
Abadie's legal team is said to be focusing on the specific restriction on any monitor that "is operating"; she claims her Google Glass eyewear was turned off while driving, according to a NBC 7 San Diego report. She reportedly admits that the Google Glass activated when she looked up at the officer beside the vehicle, however. It is unclear if she
Her attorney, Will Concidine, claims "there's nothing illegal about wearing Google Glass while driving your vehicle." He argues that the law was drafted years before such technology was invented, with a specific purpose of preventing people from watching television while driving.
The case has reignited long-running debates surrounding the use of technology in vehicles, particularly in the age of multi-purpose devices, such as cellphones, that serve both as distractions and as driving aids. Proponents may argue that Google Glass can help reduce the need to look away from the road, presenting navigation guidance on a heads-up display rather than requiring drivers to glance down at a navigation display on the console. Critics may point out, however, that it is difficult for an officer to determine if electronic eyewear is being used for navigation or to check Facebook feeds.