Cecilia Abadie pleads not guilty in first case involving Google Glass

Woman cited for wearing computer glasses while driving on Californian road

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 December, 2013, 9:06pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 December, 2013, 5:01am

A woman in the US pleaded not guilty to what is believed to be the first traffic citation alleging a motorist was using Google's computer-in-an-eyeglass.

The device, known as Google Glass, features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.

The technology is not yet widely available to the public, but defendant Cecilia Abadie was one of about 10,000 "explorers" who received the glasses earlier this year as part of a tryout.

Her case touches several hot-button issues, including distracted driving, wearable technology that will one day become mainstream, and how laws often lag technological developments.

Abadie was pulled over in October on suspicion of going 130km/h in a 105km/h zone on a San Diego freeway. The California Highway Patrol officer saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or television screen is on in the front of their vehicle.

Abadie pleaded not guilty to both charges in San Diego traffic court on Tuesday.

Her attorney William Concidine said in an interview that she would testify at a trial scheduled for January that the glasses were not on when she was driving but activated when she looked up at the officer. He also said the vehicle code listed in the citation applied to video screens in vehicles and was not relevant to mobile technology such as Google Glass.

Legislators in at least three US states - Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia - have introduced bills that would specifically ban driving while using Google Glass.

Chris Dale, a spokesman for the tech giant, said he was not aware of any other tickets issued for driving with Google Glass.

Google's website contains an advisory about using the headgear while driving: "Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you're following the law, don't hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road."