By on November 1, 2013


Texting. Cellphones. Entertainment systems. All of these have been regulated in order to diminish distracted driving as much as possible. Google Glass may now be added to that list, courtesy of the California Highway Patrol via a speeding ticket that became more upon closer inspection.

Tuesday evening, one Cecilia Abadie was pulled over by the CHP for doing 80 in a 65 on her way back to her home in Temecula. At that moment in time, she also was wearing her pair of Google Glass. The high-tech eyewear goes for $1,500, is currently limited to beta testers willing to go through the appropriate hoops and pay the fee, and can be used in the same manner as a Nexus 5 or iPhone 5S — without having to pick up the phone.

The officer saw the silly looking fashion statement, and issued her a citation for committing a misdemeanor against style. No. Actually, the citation was for distracted driving, though Abadie claims the Google Glass was not active at time of the additional citation due to concerns over remaining battery power.

As such, Abadie has decided to fight the tacked-on citation, with plenty of attorneys ready to help thanks to the publicity generated from the first reports cluttering the scrolling news feeds of CNN, FOX News et al.

“The law is not clear, the laws are very outdated,” she said, believing that the minimalist tech could prove to be a solution to the cellphone conundrum instead of being a problem unto itself. That said, there are a few detractors for Abadie, including CHP officer Marc Hale and University of Utah Center for the Prevention of Distracted Driving director David Strayer, both of whom state that Google Glass and other technologies like it can still “divert attention from the roadway,” making driving more dangerous.

Legislatures in Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia have introduced bills that would ban the use of Google Glass while driving; Google, for its part, instructs its testers to heed the law:

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.

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34 Comments on “Google Glass Wearer to Fight Citation For Wearing Google Glass...”

  • avatar

    I’m sorry, but using the excuse it was not on at the time doesn’t work for me. If it’s not on take it off. There is no way for the officer to know this and who’s to say that she didn’t turn it off while the officer was walking up?
    This device would seem to just as distracting as using a cellphone or even more so. It would be like having a little TV in your peripheral vision. Nah, that wouldn’t be distracting at all!

    On a silly side note: I live in Temecula nice to see it mentioned in TTAC

    • 0 avatar

      Most cars come equipped now with a little TV in the driver’s peripheral vision, for what it’s worth. Actually, outside the driver’s peripheral vision, so the argument could be made that using Google Glass with a GPS would be less distracting than looking away from the road to the screen.

      Having said that, laws are all about drawing lines. It seems pretty reasonable that wearing an entertainment screen while driving would have to be considered a de facto distraction, initially anyway. At some point in the future there may be ways to better regulate this, but they would also probably have to involve a privacy invasion to the wearer (ie. to somehow verify later what content, if any, was being viewed at the time of an infraction or accident).

    • 0 avatar

      #1 If the NTSB hasn’t specifically rules against people being able to have Google Glasses on while driving, then I see no reason at all why you shouldn’t be able to.

      #2 I see NO DIFFERENCE between someone driving holding a phone to their face and talking on Bluetooth. If you’re in a heated conversation – or an emotional one – YOU AREN’T WATCHING THE ROAD.

      #3 Unless a car has front sensors and adaptive cruise control (like mine) to quickly warn you when you are approaching a slower/slowing car, anything in the car you are looking at besides “driving” is a distraction.

      #4 Google Glass is never going to make it. Having a camera on your face that can take pics or video without the other people knowing it is definitely not something the pigs want – therefore the citation doesn’t surprise me.

      Apple needs to race to build a pair of eyeglasses with this level of tech in it that actually looks like eyeglasses. Call them “iGlasses”.

      You insert a prescription lens in them and then go about your businesses recording car accidents, police arrests and booty in the gym.

      • 0 avatar

        Bigtruckseriesreview, how can you think this is not distracting? Now I agree the distracted driving laws are all messed up when you consider the infotainment systems and if changing a radio station on your phone is a problem but this seems pretty simple. Wearing glasses that have images in the lenses is probably distracted driving.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        “#2 I see NO DIFFERENCE between someone driving holding a phone to their face and talking on Bluetooth. If you’re in a heated conversation – or an emotional one – YOU AREN’T WATCHING THE ROAD.”

        [Claps hands]. That’s the one that most people don’t seem to understand. And people get annoyed when I tell them that I’d rather not talk on the phone because I’m driving. “Well, don’t you have Bluetooth?” Yes, but…

        • 0 avatar

          You may not be watching the road, but at least you are SEEING the road. With Google Glass, there will be images that obstruct your VIEW of the road, even if you aren’t paying attention to the road in the first place.

        • 0 avatar

          As is having heated conversation with a passenger in your car…….

          Who gives a hoot about what people do, as long as they are not displaying outward signs of bad driving. You know you live in dystopia when every halfwit and his retarded uncle busy themselves babbling about what is, and is not, appropriate for others to do while driving. If you can drive while wearing google glasses, go the merry heck ahead. If you cannot drive without wearing them, don’t. Simple. Easy.

          Man, it’s a good thing nuclear tech is getting more widespread. This dump could sure stand a hard reboot right about now.

      • 0 avatar

        #4 Google Glass is never going to make it.

        Ouch… please don’t be one of those “i just need a phone that makes calls” people.

        Whether we like it or not, Glass (and its spawn) will be everywhere.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I’m no Foxy McLegalbriefs or whatever, but if they can nab you for DUI when you’re asleep in the back of a parked car with the key in the ignition to get some heat because that signifies ‘intent to drive’ then clearly having a video screen in front of your face can legally be intent to drive while distracted regardless of power switch position.

    • 0 avatar

      Both of those are on extremely shaky legal grounds. The case you describe I’m sure occurred but if it was dragged out to higher courts would likely be overturned. The same can be said for Google Glass, if it can be established it wasn’t on (internal clock should be able to verify this with some diagnostic readouts) then it is a clear piece of glass, effectively nothing more than sunglasses at that point.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        Simply wrong. Here’s a case of a man prosecuted of drunk driving without the keys even being in the ignition or in hand. Conviction maintained upon appeal.

  • avatar

    Sounds like she had it on when pulled over. So her mistake there. The cops are looking for anything to add to the final tally. Not only are you getting pulled over for some infraction, but then they have to start going thru the shopping list of other items such as belts, open containers, out of date sticker etc etc.. When does it end..?

    “Sign here ma’am. You’ll also see that in addition to the 130 dollar speeding fine, there is the 55 dollar fine for the distracted driving.
    Also new this year is the “usage fee”, this is a fee you’ll now pay for the privilege of being pulled over by the state’s finest. That’s only 37 dollars and is not contestable regardless of the outcome if you fight the ticket. Should you choose to fight the ticket, fill out the back and send in a 25 dollar payment so your plea will be processed correctly. Have a nice day.”

  • avatar

    Google is upset with the NSA for invading its “privacy”, as if. Just yesterday, I got an email from Google, asking me if I knew Michael Karesh – this after a visit to TrueDelta to check out the Accord V6 demotion by Consumer Reports to below average reliability. True Delta has zero reports on the 2013 Accord, btw.

    Google, it seems to me, wants things all its way. Driverless cars, stupid glasses that any responsible organization would know that the fluffier types on its beta testing would misuse just to be “cool”, “look at me!”

    And invasions of my privacy as well, from a damn robot you can’t tell to eff off.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, aren’t we being a bit melodramatic over Google’s agendas? Google monitors activity within their domain, I don’t necessarily agree but I acknowledge it and don’t get up in arms when it happens (any more than I normally would).

      So lets go through this..

      Driverless cars are bad why? If algorithms could cut down accidents using radar and well maintained systems why not?

      Google glass is borderline, I agree. The fact that it is effectively a camera mounted to your face that people can’t avoid makes the public all that much more public. I don’t expect privacy in public, but I do expect some modicum of decency to at least attempt to appear proper (i.e. the gym, making that grunt-y face is not when I want a photo taken.)

      I would imagine you support Google in their claims against the NSA since they’re fighting for your definitive civil liberty…

  • avatar
    slow kills

    True, you can remove a pair of ‘glasses’ without drawing any notice as soon as you stop. I guess the argument could be made that failing to remove them is evidence of them being on and/or being aware of guilt.

  • avatar

    California has laws that ban handheld phones and manual texting. Texting by voice is specifically permitted under the anti-texting law.

    Google Glass doesn’t fit into either category — it’s a hands-free device.

    If the judge does his or her job, then the distracted charge will get tossed and the case will be limited to speeding. (Of course, it’s traffic court, where judges often overstep their bounds.) In any case, the state legislature will probably need to pass a new law if it wants to control this thing.

    • 0 avatar

      The citation is for having a monitor in the driver’s view. Has nothing whatsoever to do with texting.
      Edited—I just checked the law’s text, and I was mistaken; actually, California DOES require the monitor to be on.

      • 0 avatar

        27602. (a) 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.

        If it isn’t in use, then there is no violation.

        Also, there are exemptions for GPS and for mapping. Using your Google Glass to look at Google Maps (or any other kind of maps) should be perfectly legal.

  • avatar

    Your comment reminded me of the movie Brazil and Information Retrieval Charges: “Don’t fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating.”

    “Information Transit got the wrong man. I got the *right* man. The wrong one was delivered to me as the right man, I accepted him on good faith as the right man. Was I wrong?”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m with the CHP on this one. This is why mfrs don’t put entertainment video screens on driver HUDs.

    • 0 avatar

      Problem is, he got cited for *simply wearing it*; that’d be like being cited for having an aftermarket flip-down DVD player in the dash.

      Citing someone for actually *driving [sufficiently] distracted* is one thing – citing them for merely having the headset on is another.

      (Shall we cite people who drive cars with HUDs because the HUDs are “distracting”?)

      • 0 avatar

        No, because the dvd player screen flips down–out of view.
        (Edited–turns out, Ca DOES require that the monitor be on to be a violation.)

        • 0 avatar

          What if the screen is flipped up and showing the nav screen, or some gauges, etc. I don’t see the difference here. The cop had no proof she was watching a movie or something else. She could have had a nav screen on.

  • avatar
    TTAC Staff


  • avatar

    Strayer should certainly know. He’s done a lot of research on distracted driving.

  • avatar

    When it comes to traffic tickets, you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent.

    As others have stated, driving with a monitor within sight is legal if it’s being used for navigation or other normal car stuff. For example, you can put your smartphone in a dock and use it as a GPS device. But the police can’t tell what you’re watching on Google Glass (if anything). Unfortunately, it’s going to be up to you to prove that you weren’t watching anything. That’s ridiculous, but it’s consistent with current practice.

  • avatar

    So all Google has to do is come up with apps that interface with the OBDC and display vital information i.e. the indicator/turn signal/trafficator (covered all continents there!) is still on after completing my turn for 10 miles/km/furlongs, this then equates them to the various marks of BMW/KIA/HONDA’s/NISSAN’s et al complete with H.U.D.’s showing me vital information, then I cannot be booked. Prove it in a court of law that my glasses were showing me the latest YouTube video of piano playing kittens, instead of my assertion that it was displaying vital car parameters.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the Ca? case regarding the lady displaying colored lights (12v Xmas tree lights) on the interior of her car. Big court discussion on multicolored display dash-lights & interior lights visible from exterior of car. Case dismissed.

  • avatar

    WHAT ? every year I put Christmas Lights around the inside of my windshield and so far no tickets .

    Maybe the Grinch *is* real and drives a B & W .


  • avatar

    CA law forbids talking on a cell phone in your hand but specifically allows people to DIAL said phone. Yet, I know two people who have been ticketed for dialing… In one case she had a Bluetooth set in her ear at the time. The other had the system built into the car.

    Giving a ticket is essentially an invitation to either pay an exorbitant fine or waste hours attempting to fight the charge in a “court” where all of the chips are stacked against you.

    My nanny got a fix it ticket in my car because she got pulled over and was too flustered to find the registration and insurance cards I had in a big envelope marked “registration” in the glovebox. I went with her to court (Yolo County Court fwiw) to show that the docs existed. There was a woman in front of us who was arguing an extra fine because she missed her court date. She had insurance documents and a newspaper article showing that her apartment building had BURNED DOWN the night before her court date. The magistrate (aka retired judge who seemed to act as if he got paid a percentage of the fines he collected) told her that the only allowable excuses for missing a court date were hospitalization or being in jail. I guess finding oneself homeless and all her worldly possessions smoky and damaged wasn’t good enough to avoid a $300 administrative fee. Suffice to say everyone who followed her that day just said guilty and asked for traffic school.

  • avatar

    Google glass is definitely distracting. The other day in SF I was walking on the sidewalk and a guy walked straight in me while his eyes were strangely staring to the upper right. He was wearing google glasses. Apparently it lacks the capability to navigate you around other people on the streets while you are doing your very important business of checking your tweets.

  • avatar

    The fact she doesn’t even seem to understand the issue seems a good reason to make her a posterchild for reckless endangerment.

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