SAN DIEGO — A San Diego traffic court threw out a citation Thursday against a woman believed to be the first motorist in the country ticketed for driving while wearing a Google Glass computer-in-eyeglass device.
Commissioner John Blair ruled that Cecilia Abadie was not guilty because she had been cited under a code that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the device was in operation, which the officer did not provide.
However, Blair did find that the code specifically bars the operation of a video or TV screen or similar device on the front of a vehicle while it is moving, a provision Blair said could be broad enough to apply to Google Glass.
The device on a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
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Abadie, 44, of Temecula, is among thousands of “explorers” who have been selected to try out Google Glass before the technology becomes widely available to the public this year.
Legal experts say the ruling does not set a precedent but marks the beginning of a number of cases they expect courts to confront as lawmakers struggle to keep pace with technology. “The fun is just starting,” said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School.
From driverless cars to wearable devices that can enhance human functions, Wadhwa said, there are a variety of legal questions to be answered. For example, when a Google-operated car is on the road and hits someone, who is responsible: the passenger, car manufacturer or software developer?
Abadie, a software developer, was cited after being pulled over for speeding on a San Diego freeway in October and the California Highway Patrol officer noticed she was wearing Google Glass. Abadie had pleaded not guilty to both charges. Her attorney William Concidine previously said the device was not activated when she was driving.
Google Glass frames are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display that responds to voice commands. Users can do such things as check email or get directions.