This May Be The First Ticket For Wearing Google Glass While Driving

It's hard to read, but the driver was cited for "Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass)" (Source: Google+)

It’s hard to read, but the driver was cited for “Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass)” [Source: Google+]

California law prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle when some sort of video screen is showing “entertainment or business applications” that are in the front seat area or otherwise visible to the driver. And at least one police officer in San Diego thinks this law applies to Google Glass.

Engadget points us to this Google+ post of a woman who posted the above photo of her ticket online while seeking legal advice from the rest of the world.

The driver writes:

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 ilegal 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 US?

The specific law, available here, that the officer appears to believe she violated reads:

A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar 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.

It also provides exceptions for vehicle information displays, GPS and map system displays, screens for things like rearview cameras and other displays “for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.”

The big question is whether the simple wearing of a Google Glass device violates the law. We’re not lawyers, but citing someone for wearing the device while it’s not turned on seems like giving someone a ticket for driving with an unplugged TV set in the front seat.

If wearing Google Glass while driving is against the law in California, then does that also apply to other wearable screens like the Samsung watch?

Another question that will inevitably be answered by a court or legislature is whether you can use GPS and mapping apps on Google Glass and other devices while driving. Are they any more of a distraction than the ones already in and on our cars’ dashboards?

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  1. Tightwad says:

    Worthy of a ticket? Absolutely! It was distracted driving.

    I don’t how much this person thinks she can multitask. One eyeball is looking at a screen, the other on the road, and her brain is on the subject being displayed. And she can’t understand why?

    • Corbin says:

      Agreed 100%.
      People have become too comfortable on the road that they are okay with things distracting them from driving. This is not okay. This is how people get hurt or killed. We have a responsibility when we drive to be careful and if you have your Facebook updates popping up in front of your eyes while you’re on the road, you are anything but careful; you’re a liability to yourself and others.

    • KDoggMDF3 says:

      I don’t agree at all. The law clearly provides the following exceptions:
      “A visual display used to enhance or supplement the driver’s view forward, behind, or to the sides of a motor vehicle for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.”
      Google Glass, while able to be used as an “entertainment device”, can also be used to “enhance or supplement” a driver’s view. Just like using a cell phone for GPS, which would not warrant a ticket unless a cop witnessed you watching movies while driving, Google Glass should not warrant a ticket for using it while driving.
      This device is designed to revolutionize the way we think about and use technology; at the worst, the cop should have provided a warning and let her be on her way.

  2. Cheesebread says:

    Unlike most GPS items like say running Waze from a smartphone on your dashboard, Glass actually impairs your field of view. Never mind the actual distraction of having navigation open (often unnecessarily) but just the face that the glasses obscure your view of the road.