On Tuesday, a woman was pulled over by a San Diego cop for speeding, and ticketed for wearing Google Glass.
"A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!" Cecilia Abadie, a member of the Google Glass Explorer program, posted on her Google Plus account. "The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is #GoogleGlass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong??? Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?"
The Google Glass Explorer community — those lucky few chosen to pay $1,500 apiece to try out the first batch of Google Glass headsets — was quick to react. Though the ticket meets the letter of the California law, many posting with the hashtag #freececilia felt that Google Glass — a wireless camera-equipped wearable computer — didn't violate the spirit of the law.
"It is interesting situation, using GPS navigation on my phone vs my Glass — so much better via Glass with less distraction and looking down on my part," one Google Glass community member posted. "That tickets means all built in and portable navigation systems which also provide video media functions are against the law..LOL," wrote another.
One member posited that perhaps it should depend on whether Google Glass is in use. "If you aren't using them while driving I say they aren't a problem," he wrote. "They are dangerous to use while driving. Easy to fix issue with Glass though. But being ticketed just cause you have them on is pretty foolish. Might as well push the issue to GPS, Hats, Radios, hell everything."
They all have a point. Distracted driving takes many forms, notes Distraction.gov, the "Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving." Old-timey examples cited on the website include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading (including maps — though one time I totally saw a guy straight-up reading a fully unfolded New York Times), and adjusting the stereo. Then there's the newfangled tech taking most of the blame for the rising numbers distracted-driving related accidents — looking at your GPS, watching a video, texting, talking or otherwise futzing with your phone.
Whether you can get a ticket for any of the above, depends on state and local laws, circumstances and the cop who pulls you over. Noticeably absent for the list? Google Glass. At least for now.