A California woman who was stopped by police for driving while wearing Google Glass has pleaded not guilty to charges of speeding and distracted driving.
Early Glass adopter Cecilia Abadie of Temecula, California was issued a traffic citation in October under a clause in the state's vehicle code that forbids operating a motor vehicle while a television or video screen is visible to the driver.
She is believed to be the first person in the US – and hence the world, since Glass is so far only available to US residents – to be ticketed for an offense involving the high-tech specs.
But Abadie's attorney William Concidine argued in a San Diego traffic court on Tuesday that this was no open-and-shut case.
"We're going to be arguing that Miss Abadie's case is unique, it's different, it's the first of its kind," Concidine said in a video posted to Abadie's Google+ page. "And there is nothing illegal to be wearing Google Glass while driving your vehicle."
The language of the law under which Abadie was cited forbids in-vehicle televisions and video screens mounted "at a point forward of the back of the driver's seat." It makes specific exceptions for information displays, GPS systems, mapping displays, and devices solely designed to assist in driving – such as rear-facing closed circuit camera displays – as long as these are installed in the vehicle.
Beyond that, however, the law forbids "any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications." Glass can certainly display a video signal, so it would seem to qualify for the ban.
But Concidine told reporters on Tuesday that Abadie's Google goggles weren't actually switched on at the time she was stopped by police.
"The sub-issue is, is it illegal to even have Google Glass on your head while driving?" Concidine said. "We feel that that's completely legal to do so because it's not impairing your vision while driving. The issue is going to be whether [the headset] was operating while Miss Abadie was driving the vehicle."
In addition to her alleged video violation, the same traffic ticket accuses Abidie of driving 80mph in a 65mph zone. During the Tuesday hearing, Concidine also entered a not guilty plea for this charge, although he did not elaborate on Abadie's planned defense. ®