Cecilia Abadie, one of Google Glass' early adopters, was recently issued a traffic ticket for speeding. And the police officer wrote up Abadie for an additional infraction -- for "driving with a monitor visible to the driver." A statement released by the CHP confirmed the incident, saying that it's against California law to drive with a video screen near the driver's seat.
Another Google Glass early adopter, Chris Barrett, recently wrote about his experience driving along the East Coast. When he first got the device though, he also wasn't sure what traffic cops would think of it.
"Once I got in the car, the first thing I Googled using Glass was 'Are you allowed to wear Glass while driving?'" he told ABC News. Glass had no answer, given that the device was brand new and that there was no legislation that specifically said that Google's wearable computer was illegal. "But I wanted to be extra careful, so I took it off and handed it over to my friend."
Legislators in the United Kingdom have been actively discussing whether or not drivers should be banned from wearing Glass. But it's not clear where legislators in the United States stand. A spokesman for the Congressional Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure said that the issue has not been discussed.
A Google spokesman told ABC News that users "should always use Glass responsibly and put their safety and the safety of others first."
"More broadly, Glass is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it," the spokesman said in a statement. "It's early days for Glass and we look forward to hearing feedback from Explorers and others in advance of a wider consumer launch next year."
Though Barrett doesn't think of Glass as a driving distraction, he understands how it could be a contentious issue. "If Google handed Glass out to 2 million people and everyone was just driving around with them on, that would scare people more than anything," he said. "The slow rollout is meant to figure out these questions first."
In addition, Barrett sees these questions as a strong motivator for Google to make the Glass experience better.
"It would be great if there were a car mode for glass, like how cell phones have airplane mode," he said. "Maybe you don't need to see all your tweets or messages, but you still want to be able to control what music is playing."
- California Highway Patrol
- Chris Barrett