Driver Ticketed for Google Glass Found Not Guilty

The device is worn like glasses and allows the user to record video hands-free

By Omari Fleming and R. Stickney
|  Friday, Jan 17, 2014  |  Updated 12:20 PM CDT
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A San Diego traffic court commissioner dismissed the first traffic ticket issued to a person for using Google Glass while driving. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has reaction from the woman at the center of the case.

A San Diego traffic court commissioner dismissed the first traffic ticket issued to a person for using Google Glass while driving. NBC 7’s Omari Fleming has reaction from the woman at the center of the case.

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Traffic Court Judge Rules on Google Glass Ticket

San Diego Commissioner John Blair can be heard issuing his ruling in the case of Cecilia Abadie, a Temecula woman cited for driving while wearing Google Glass on January, 16, 2013.
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A San Diego traffic court commissioner dismissed the first traffic ticket issued to a person for using Google Glass while driving, but the ruling isn't an invitation for drivers to use the device behind the wheel.

The commissioner found there was not enough evidence presented to prove the device was activated at the time of the traffic stop.

Cecilia Abadie, of Temecula, Calif., was ticketed for speeding while driving Interstate 15 near Aero Drive on Oct. 29.

The California Highway Patrol officer who issued the ticket testified Wednesday that Abadie passed him doing 85 mph in her silver Toyota Prius.

“When I contacted her she was wearing a device on her face known as Google Glass,” CHP Officer Keith Odle testified. “It was covering half of her right eye.“

Officer Odle and a representative from the CHP Academy in Sacramento testified on what they considered the safety concerns of the device - including the ability for the user to receive in-frame video chats - but San Diego Commissioner John Blair ruled they did not present enough evidence that Abadie was actually using the device when she was stopped.

Abadie maintains she was simply wearing the device, which she does all the time, apparently. She said that the Glass activated when she looked up at the officer as he approached her vehicle.

Blair found Abadie not guilty, but he added that he felt the new device does fall under California Vehicle Code 27602.

That particular section, according to CHP, states that it’s against the law in California for a motorist to drive a car if a television monitor, screen or similar video monitors are turned on and visible to the driver.

“Based on the plain language of the statute, the court finds that … Google Glass falls within the purview and intent of the legislature,” Commission Blair ruled.

In December, Abadie pleaded not guilty to the citation and shared how her legal team planned to defend her against the unique traffic ticket via – what else – Google Glass.

“There’s nothing illegal about wearing Google Glass while driving your vehicle,” said Abadie’s attorney, Will Concidine, adding that the device was invented after the current law was passed banning drivers from watching TV screens or monitors.

Abadie posted a photo of the citation on her Google+ page, adding:

“A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!
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 U.S.?”

Legislators and others were watching for the San Diego judge's decision, a fact not lost on Abadie. She never imagined being a part of so much media attention.

Though Abadie said she understands the safety concern, she said she typically wears her Google Glass all day – even while driving – but doesn’t turn them on behind the wheel.

Google Glass is worn on the head, just like a pair of eyeglasses, and allows the user to take images and share content hands-free.

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