Google Glass Illegal While Driving? Motorist Gets Ticketed by Police

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News Posted: Wed, Oct 30 2013 9:43 AM
Heads up for all you California motorists, and perhaps drivers in all 50 states. If you're donning a pair of Google Glasses while behind the wheel of your car, you might get a ticket. Cecilia Abadie found that out the hard way when she was issued a citation by a police officer in California for what essentially amounts to distracted driving.

The first item on the ticket is for speeding, which is probably the reason she was pulled over in the first place rather than for wearing Google Glass. However, she was also cited for her headgear, with the officer likening the infraction to "driving with monitor visible to driver."

Google Glass ticket

"Is Google Glass illegal while driving or this cop wrong??? Any legal advice is appreciated!!," Abadie posted on her Google Plus page. "This happened in California. Do you know any other Glass Explorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the U.S.?"

Abadie might be the first person to receive a citation for wearing Google Glass, but will she be the last? Delaware and West Virginia passed laws that prohibit wearable computing devices with head mounted displays while driving. However, the California officer took it a different direction by comparing Glass to a monitor, and it will be interesting to see how the courts rule if Abadie decides to fight the infraction.
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As well she should. HUD displays are often common in new cars... are they gonna give tickets to all of them? They are either illegal (and so the autocompanies should be prosecuted) or they are legal. Can't have it both ways. Sounds like a personal agenda of the cop.

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JesseLiss replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 10:31 AM

I don't think people have the capacity to drive while wearing something like this. While some will use it for things like gps directions, there are exponentially more that will be using it to tweet about their breakfast or watching a movie while they drive.

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Google Glass is a personnal electronic device, so any state those are illegal in they are illegal to wear while driving.

Google Glass is a hands free device, so any state with a total cell phone ban they are illegal to wear while driving.

Any state with a distracted driving law, they are illegal to wear while driving.

Since you can read text on them, any state with a texting ban they could possibly get you for that.

TL/DR: Pretty much any state were playing with an electronic device of some make or function is illegal to do while driving, then chances are very high that Google Glass is as well.

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sevags replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 1:32 PM

I agree with the officer, she completely deserves her ticket. No matter what the reason the woman had for wearing Glass she was wrong in doing so. None of the features of Glass aid in driving but all features pretty much distract you. Bottom line it should be considered the same as using your cell phone while driving, whether it's in your hand or on your head you should get a ticket.

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KOwen replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 2:05 PM

good luck enforcing no wearable computing in the car in the future. police can barely enforce hands free cell phone use. how would police tell the difference between on and off devices, or spot the difference between regular and computer glasses? Just don't get caught, the odds are in your favor anyways.

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RBloch replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 2:26 PM

Good, if I can't use my smart phone then you can't use your Google glass.

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ajm531 replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 5:53 PM

I hope she fights this. So for those who are making comments about the law as far as electronic devices being used whether hands free would that then include smartwatches or are they exempt since they are not in our direct line of sight.

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sevags replied on Wed, Oct 30 2013 7:26 PM

ajm; I don't think this would include smart watches but only if certain criteria are met. A watch is on your wrist without direct line of sight or the screen being in your face and you shouldn't have to hold it up to your face so it SHOULD technically be legal as long as 1) you don't have to take your eyes off the road 2) you don't have to let go of the steering wheel to speak, and 3) you are able to answer and hangup without having to physically touch the watch. At that point it becomes just another "hands"-free device. 

The law won't say you can't use Glass to answers calls etc (if also using hands free BT audio in the car) but the moment you have to put it on your head and have it in front of your view whether on or off it becomes illegal. Cops don't care if your device is on or off of it you were even using it. In CA if a cop somehow sees a phone in your hand but it is off and you aren't using it it is still a ticket. I believe you can't even pick up your phone in your hand while stopped in a drive-thru window let alone anywhere else. 

Why would anyone WANT wearing Glass while driving to be legal?? Input works based on your pupils and vision which means you have to either look away from the road or change your depth perception away from the road to give your Glass commands and anyone doing that should not be allowed behind the wheel in the first place.

Keep in mind I am one of those guys who will annoyingly honk and not let go of the horn for long periods of time anytime I see someone still txting and driving or on the phone holding it to their face, I will honk and when they look at me I will make the gesture of pulling away a phone from my ear and hanging it up. I have also called police with the license plates of people I have seen on their phones driving recklessly. It i something no one should tolerate. 

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News:
with the officer likening the infraction to "driving with monitor visible to driver."

How much different is this from having a navigation device or heads-up display in the vehicle? Google might want to have some of its high-dollar attorneys defend in this case.

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sevags replied on Fri, Nov 1 2013 2:43 PM

Super Dave; it is very different. Having a navigation screen built into the center console means that the monitor is not in your line of sight you have to physically look away from the road to see it which you would hopefully do as fast as possible and get your eyes back on the road. As for Nav's that get suction cupped to your windshield it is actually illegal in CA to have anything obstructing your view of the road so you are not allowed to suction-cup a nav to the windshield or hang anything over your rear view mirror. If you can't have it directly in your view why would you be allowed to have it on your head where it is visible at all times with no ability to look away from it. Also dashboard Nav's do not allow directional input while driving using the screen however you can use voice but google glass won't just be using voice but also input from your eyes which I mentioned before requires you to take your focus off of the road. As for heads up displays the current generation doesn't offer much information like full color and detailed maps (last i looked into it?) and again doesn't require you to look away from the road for input. 

Doubt google will spend a dime trying to fight such cases knowing they will just lose and the more they lose this battle in court the more likely that specific anti glass laws will pass in many states when it comes to driving. Also imagine the day that someone gets into a car accident involving a fatality where it is found the driver was wearing glass.... That will not be a good day for google or glass. 

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sevags:
it is actually illegal in CA to have anything obstructing your view of the road so you are not allowed to suction-cup a nav to the windshield

As of Jan. 1 2009 it has been LEGAL to have a navigation device attached to the windshield in California (see HERE). Since Google Glass is not in your line of sight, just like that GPS device mounted in the lower corner of your windshield, they are similar. I'd like to be able to record video with Glass while I commute on my motorcycle, sevags!

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sevags replied on Fri, Nov 1 2013 5:20 PM

How is glass not in your line of sight???

well I hope it becomes illegal for you to wear as while on your motorcycle. Buy a normal front mounted camera if you want that or get a GoPro and a helmet mount.

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The Glass screen is above the direct line of sight. The GoPro camera is an option, but it would be a hassle to remove and store a camera when I park the bike away from home. I do admire that you are against distracted driving, and I'm with you there, Brother. The last thing I want is to get crushed by someone driving an SUV while looking at their electronic device. It is my opinion that Glass can be used safely while driving.

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