Driver Ticketed For Wearing Google Glass Specs

Dennis Faas's picture

A California driver appears to be the first person ticketed for wearing Google's high-tech spectacles while behind the wheel. It's prompted a legal dispute about whether existing laws actually bar people from using the device while driving.

Google Glass is currently undergoing national testing with a selected audience before it goes on sale. The gadget is similar to a pair of spectacles, but combines a small projector on the "lens", a microphone, an earpiece and a camera.

The device also has an Internet connection. Though billed as a wearable computer, it's effectively a smartphone in eyeglass form.

Traffic Cop Treats Google Glass Like TV Screen

Cecilia Abadie is among the people testing the glasses. She took to her Google+ social media account to say that "A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!"

"Is #GoogleGlass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong???" (Source:

The California Highway Patrol says the ticket is valid. It says Abadie breached a longstanding rule in the California Vehicle Code which bans drivers using a screen displaying a video signal for entertainment or business purposes.

That careful wording appears to be designed to allow for legal use of GPS devices. (Source:

Abadie, who was originally pulled over for speeding, says she was not actively using the device, but that it was switched on. That may create a legal dispute about the wording of the law, as it appears that although the "screen" in front of her eye was on, it wasn't displaying a signal.

For her part, Abadie says she is considering appealing the ticket.

Ticket Prompts Legal Controversy

Reactions to Abadie's case are mixed. Many have urged her to fight the ruling, arguing that Google Glass is safe for drivers. Others have condemned her behavior, saying that using the gadget while driving put pedestrians and other drivers at risk.

Legal experts have been pondering the status of Google Glass ever since Google first announced the idea. Earlier this year, a state senator in West Virginia proposed a specific amendment to state driving laws to make it an offense to drive while "using a wearable computer with head mounted display."

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