The first driver ever to be ticketed for Google Glass use behind the wheel has won her court appeal and got the fine overturned, only in the end what helped Cecilia Abadie prevail was a mere technicality.
Bottom line, it’s still unclear if driving while operating Google’s experimental head-mounted computer is legal in the state of California. In Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey, it won’t be for long, as specific bills banning G Glass will likely be passed soon enough, whereas everywhere else a big grey area leaves plenty of room for interpretation and debate.
For instance, the reason Abadie, a software developer part of the Google Glass Explorer program, received a ticket in the first place was the officer that pulled her over (for speeding) reckoned the wearable gizmo fit the profile of entertainment distractions described in the California vehicle code section 27602 Television.
However, many may argue it doesn’t, or at least it’s unclear if it does, as the law prohibits the driving of 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.”
Wow, so elaborate, yet so confusing and ambiguous. Because you see, Google Glass is not a television or video monitor, but it can display a video signal that produces entertainment or business applications. For instance, YouTube clips.
Also, its tiny screen is not technically located in front of the user, as you need to look up to see something, but it can be visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle. Finally, and this is probably the key defense argument against the banning of Google Glass driving, one can operate the gadget solely by voice, so it’s not necessarily a distraction.
In any case, the debate is bound to go on and on and on, as Commissioner John Blair, who threw out Abadie’s charge, did so by stating not enough proof was supplied the accused had Google Glass turned on at the time she was pulled over. Way to avoid giving an uncomfortable verdict.