Google Glass is amazing, but it’s also controversial. The UK has already banned Glass behind the wheel, and some states in the U.S. have discussed it. Several locations, like bars, have banned Glass in their establishments, too. One Google Glass Explorer got a ticket recently while driving and wearing Glass, and the news of it happening is all over the internet. We first spotted it over at Phandroid.
Glass Explorer +Cecilia Abade was pulled over and ticketed for using her Google Glass while driving. Although we heard that she was pulled over for driving while wearing Glass, it turns out she was pulled over for speeding. However, she was also cited for “Driving w/ monitor visible to driver (Google Glass)” once the officer saw that she was wearing Glass. The legalities surrounding this are a little murky, but here’s what we know.
Glass Explorer +Matt Abdou says that the law in question is called V C Section 27602 Television, and based on the verbiage Glass could fall under it given the circumstances. Here’s the section in question:
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.
There is a list of exceptions that can be made, and GPS navigation using Google Navigation with Glass could be one of them. The exceptions are described as:
A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver’s view forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.
While watching TV or looking at a similar screen is illegal in California, looking at your phone or GPS unit “for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle” is not . The officer would need to prove that Cecilia was watching YouTube or doing something else entertainment related if he wants the Glass charge to stick. Sounds like she has grounds to fight the charge. Whether or not she will be able to avoid paying a fine is yet to be seen.
There is a lot of focus on Glass and similar wearable technology right now. This legal ruling could set a precedent for future cases. Google just announced a new hardware replacement for current Glass models, and they gave Glass Explorers 3 invites each to hand out to friends. These legal issues will need to be addressed as Google prepares for a public Glass release next year.