Cecilia Abadie is a Glass Explorer, one of the fancy select humans picked by Google to try out Google Glass before regular, un-fancy humans and tell us all about this marvelous technology. Abadie explored her way into a ticket in California, finding out before regular humans that it is against California law to drive with Google Glass on your face. Abadie posted about her run-in with a cop on Google Glass early Wednesday morning, and you can see from the image on the right that Google Glass, not "ugly glasses," is specifically cited by this tech-savvy cop. According to the ticket, Abadie was cited for "Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass)."
As some explorers point out, the specific law is "V C Section 27602", a law that states that you can't watch television while driving:
A person shall not drive a motor vehicle 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 is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.
That law keeps people safe. Roads are safer when people aren't distracted and watching television broadcasts while navigating the 405. But the law, in this age of Google Glass, is also vague, since you no longer need a monitor or video screen to watch television or operate "entertainment of business application" anymore.
Abadie's posting of her ticket on Google Plus has resulted in more than 234 comments (and counting), the majority of which urge Abadie to be their Rosa Parks and fight this ticket in court. "If this law is enforced for Glass then that means nobody can drive a vehicle with a phone, tablet or GPS mounted in front of the driver as they can all be made to show video," Abadie's fellow explorer Matt Abdou writes. "It's entirely up to you Cecilia but if you want to fight it I can help set up a donation campaign online for an attorney, get some references for a good attorney in your area, then fly down for the court date," he adds.
Abdou and fellow explorers say Abadie can win this, because an argument can be made that her Google Glass apparatus wasn't on and that Abadie wasn't, say, using Glass to browse the Internet while she was driving. An argument could be made that wearing the Glass apparatus in the off position is less distracting than changing the station on the radio. What doesn't help clear matters up is that Google has announced that Glass will be available to people with prescription lenses, making Glass like regular glasses.
For what it's worth, Google explains that the laws are fluid but tells its explorers to err on the side of caution. It likens Glass to a mobile device, but also explains to think logically and not be distracted with Glass while behind the wheel:
As you probably know, 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! Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.