Driver cited for wearing Google Glass may be first in California

A Temecula woman was ticketed by the California Highway Patrol for wearing a Google Glass computer headset while driving.
A Temecula woman was ticketed by the California Highway Patrol for wearing a Google Glass computer headset while driving.
(Peter DaSilva / For The Times)
Share via

SAN DIEGO -- With every technological advance, society must answer certain questions.

One of those questions may have been answered Tuesday night on a busy freeway in San Diego County.

Yes, you can get a ticket for driving while wearing the new eyewear-like Google Glass wearable computer, which is now being tested nationwide for possible entry into the consumer market.

Cecilia Abadie, 44, who lives in Temecula and works at a golf store in San Diego, got just such a ticket Tuesday night after being stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer on Interstate 15 for speeding.


Quickly, Abadie posted a note on the Internet: “A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving! ... Is Google Glass illegal while driving or is this cop wrong??? Any legal advice is appreciated.”

The CHP on Wednesday said that the ticket was issued as a violation of California Vehicle Code 27602 that makes it illegal to “drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.”

While there is no official count, CHP officials in San Diego and at the agency’s headquarters in Sacramento said they believe the ticket to Abadie may be the first issued for wearing Google Glass.

Google, in a statement, noted that its product is meant to help the wearer be in contact with the world and not to make them be distracted from something important like driving.

CHP spokesman Jake Sanchez, in the San Diego office, said that while there has not been a specific directive to patrol officers about Google Glass, discouraging distracted driving is a priority.

“Anything that takes your attention away from driving -- putting on makeup, eating food, talking to a passenger, watching a video, talking on the phone -- is dangerous,” Sanchez said.


Individual officers have leeway in issuing a ticket for distracted driving, in this case in addition to a speeding violation, Sanchez said.

“It’s every officer’s own judgment on whether the law has been violated,” he said.

Abadie’s post garnered more than 200 comments, including many urging her to fight the ticket in court.

“Please please please, fight this in court. We need to get a ruling on this,” said one commenter.

Abadie said if she fights the ticket, the result might hinge on whether the judge is a techie.

“It’s all in how a judge will interpret it and I suspect their love or hate and understanding of the technology might help or the opposite,” she wrote.



L.A. sets up command center to combat cyber attacks

Man who killed woman, pushed her from car, gets 47 years to lifeFormer Lancaster embalmer accused of stealing gold crowns from bodies

Twitter: @LATsandiego