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San Diego Traffic Court Dismisses Google Glass Ticket

In the first traffic case of its kind, a Temecula woman was found not guilty Thursday of watching television via a pair of computerized Google glasses while driving on a San Diego freeway.

Commissioner John Blair found at a hearing in San Diego that Cecilia Abadie was not actively using the Google Glass device when she was stopped.

Photo caption:

Photo by Cecilia Abadie

The first traffic violation written for driving while wearing Google Glass, Oct. 30, 2013.

A speeding ticket also was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

Defense attorney William Concidine said the acquittal shows officers must establish that a Google Glass wearer was actually using the device -- in the same way someone accused of texting while driving must be shown to have actually violated the law.

"That's something that can be relied on by drivers," the attorney said. "You won't get ticketed for just wearing Google Glass or just having a phone in your car. There's still some protection against being cited unjustly and unlawfully."

A California Highway Patrol officer issued the citation Oct. 29. Abadie was initially pulled over for speeding on Interstate 15 but was also cited for watching television via a prototype eyeglass-style Google Glass wearable computer. She was among 10,000 "explorers" chosen to try out the devices before they were sold publicly.

Concidine said Abadie's Google Glass device was not on when she was driving, but was activated when she looked up at the officer during the stop.

After the incident, Abadie identified herself on a social-networking page as the recipient of the ticket and posted a photo of it.

"Is Google Glass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong???" she asked. "Any legal advice is appreciated!! ... Do you know any other Glass Explorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the U.S.?"

She said today that as a hands-free device, Google Glass is "completely superior" to a cellphone.

In a Q&A section on its website, Google says "most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites."

"Read up and follow the law!" the site warns. "Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road."

Google Glass features a thumbnail-size transparent display on the lens in front of the right eye.


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