In Google Glass Case, Laws Again Lag Innovations
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Innovation and regulation are crashing on the highways of California.
A California woman was issued a summons for wearing Google Glass while driving. It was an added charge, since Cecilia Abadie, of Temecula, was pulled over on I-15 in San Diego County for speeding.
The California Highway Patrol officer said wearing Google Glass was akin to watching television while driving, which is a violation of state law. While California has a love affair with regulations, most other states prohibit watching a television screen while driving (with the exception of global positioning systems and mapping).
Under the California law cited by the CHP, drivers can't use “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” which is “visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.”
Abadie, who posted the ticket itself on Google+, claimed in the comments on her Google+ page that Glass wasn't on at the time (though, in a spirit of subtle honestly, she said she “doesn't use it much while driving”). Still, the officer interpreted it as a monitor which could distract or disrupt her view.
Abadie's case bring up the age-old conflict that arises when new technology doesn't fit into the narrow black and white of rules and regulations. Several innovations become common, and yet are technically against the law. In some states, earbuds, while allow people to stay compliant with the law while talking on a cellphone hands-free, actually run afoul of laws that prohibit the use of headphones while driving.
Google itself is clear that the laws are, well, unclear: "Most states have passed laws limiting the use of mobile devices while driving any motor vehicle, and most states post those rules on their department of motor vehicles websites,” the company says on its FAQ page. “Read up and follow the law!"
For her part, Abadie, 44, said she may fight the ticket.
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