A California woman has taken to social media to express her outrage after a highway patrol officer pulled her over and issued a ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass. Google Glass is a new device still in testing mode that allows users to operate a small screen suspended in front of their face using voice commands. The screen can browse the web, view photos and videos and do a variety of other tasks. The woman’s online posts expressed confusion about whether California distracted driving laws allowed the issuing of such a ticket. In her case it was given under a part of the state code that was written to apply to video monitors installed in some luxury cars but is broadly written to include screens of any nature visible to a driver, except for those used for GPS devices or backup cameras.
For those who are at all familiar with distracted driving laws, the idea that a ticket could be given for using Google Glass is no surprise. Distracted driving laws aren’t about the specific technology since that is always evolving, but rather about protecting other motorists and passengers from a drive who does not have their eyes on the road, regardless of the reason. This means that drivers can get tickets for things like eating or putting on lipstick if a police officer observes them doing so in a way that distracts them from safe driving.
In this case the woman says that she was not using the device at the time although it was powered on. The ticket also notes that she was traveling well above the speed limit at the time she was pulled over.
When drivers are distracted or otherwise acting negligently, it is important that they are held accountable for those choices, particularly if anyone is injured as a result of their actions.
Source: NPR, “’I Was Very Shocked,’ Says Driver Ticketed for Wearing Google Glass,” Bill Chappell, Oct. 31, 2013.