Driver's Google Glass Ticket Dismissed; Judge Sees No Proof

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on January 17, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

At long last, the California woman who received the first-ever traffic ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving is free to once again snap on her high-tech gear. The officer who ticketed her, however, may want to Google the question "What is evidence?"

As we previously suspected, the citation was dismissed for evidentiary reasons. The San Diego traffic court commissioner found insufficient proof that Cecilia Abadie was using her Google Glass while driving. It was a good day for Abadie because her speeding ticket was also tossed because of a lack of proof, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune.

But the legal status of sporting Google Glass behind the wheel is more unsettled than meets the eye.

Limited Ruling Issued

San Diego Traffic Court Commissioner John Blair limited his ruling to Abadie's case. While he said California's current distracted-driving law does apply to Google Glass, he ultimately dismissed the ticket, reasoning that California Highway Patrol officers "didn't present compelling evidence that Abadie was actually using the computer glasses while driving," reports U-T San Diego.

Abadie said that she was indeed wearing the glasses, but that they were in sleep mode and therefore not operating when she was pulled over for speeding.

Unfortunately, Blair's narrow ruling didn't address the overarching issue of whether driving with Google Glass while the device is operating is a violation of California law.

Potential Google Glass Legislation

State lawmakers may step in and address the looming legal questions about using Google Glass behind the wheel.

A decent number of states -- including New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, and West Virginia -- have already begun to specifically address the distracted driving issues presented by Google Glass. These states have proposed to ban the high-tech specs the way they do cell phones while driving. Wyoming and Missouri are the latest states to join the discussion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

A Google Glass-while-driving law has yet to pass. But as the hot item becomes available to the general public, it will become increasingly clear whether there will need to be new laws on the books or whether judges will simply interpret existing distracted driving laws on a case-by-case basis.

Drivers who want to sport the status symbol eyewear behind the wheel should "keep an eye" (har har) on the unsettled law -- but more importantly, on the road.

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