Woman cited for Glassing and driving 'pretty sure' she'll fight ticket

Cecilia Abadie, who was pulled over by California Highway Patrol for speeding and wearing Google Glass, says she wasn't actually using the device when she was stopped.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Cecilia Abadie, legal pioneer? One Minute News/Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

More than once, I've seen people wearing their Google Glass on the street as if it were a badge of honor.

Now, the first woman to have been ticketed for donning Google's futuristic nose-adornment at the wheel, is defending her own honor.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, software developer Cecilia Abadie seems already to be preparing her defense.

"The Glass was on, but I wasn't actively using it," were her words.

In essence, she wasn't commanding her Glass to do anything, so they sat in a passive mode like a dog waiting for the orange ball to be thrown.

It is said that the officer who stopped her did so because she was allegedly speeding. However, when he noticed that her eyewear looked a touch extra-terrestrial, he added a citation for distracted driving.

"The law is not clear, the laws are very outdated," she told the AP. Indeed, some might wonder whether speeding is the prime reaction to distraction. Perhaps weaving all over the road might be more common.

The California Highway Patrol, however, insisted that Glassing and driving is a no-no.

"Anything that takes your attention away from the motoring public in front of you is a distraction," CHP Officer Marc Hale told the AP.

This would surely include reaching for supersized McDonald's drinks, changing radio stations from classic rock to country, having a ham sandwich in one hand and a latte in the other, and having a fierce political discussion with the one you love who's in the passenger seat. As Abadie said, the law isn't exactly clear.

Legislators in West Virginia became the first to wonder whether it isn't just easier and safer to specifically ban Glassing and driving.

They were followed by Delaware and New Jersey, as well as the UK.

Abadie said she is "pretty sure" she will fight what she sees as transparent injustice.

Moreover, Glass Explorers such as the imaginative Chris Barrett tell me that they believe Google Glass improves driving safety because it encourages them not to reach for their cell phones.

Technology so often moves more quickly than do legal minds. I wonder whether the latter will be sharp enough to find some accommodation for a problem that doesn't seem to have an obvious solution.

How is a policeman to know whether your Glass is on or not? And what happens when they become an appendage to your normal prescription glasses?

I see problems from every direction. Perhaps we should just ban all new technology for five years, so that the lawyers can decide how to deal with it all.