The woman, Cecilia Abadie, was pulled over last October and issued a ticket for what a California highway patrolman described as "Driving with monitor visible to driver (Google Glass)." According to Reuters, yesterday San Diego Court Commissioner John Blair threw out the citation, saying that there was no proof that the video function on the headset was turned on.
Google Glass is currently being tested by 10,000 "Explorers," a group that includes people such as Ms. Abadie. A wider launch of the "smart" device – which has a heads-up display built into the frame – is expected to launch at some point in 2014.
But as Abadie's case illustrates, there's a lot that we don't know about the product, including when it can be legally used (and when it can't).
The dismissal of Abadie's ticket sheds little light on that issue: The court commissioner addressed only Abadie's specific circumstances. "I believe it's an initial success but we have a long way to go," Abadie said in a press conference outside a San Diego courthouse.
In recent years, texting while driving and the slow creep of touch screens into the dashboard of many cars have become hot-button issues. Writing at tech site Pocketables, Aaron Orquia notes that Google Glass "certainly requires some amount of mental effort, and the display is in a driver’s field of view. Then again, there are plenty of other worse distractions and behaviors that are currently allowed, and Glass may even serve to curtail texting while driving."
For its part, Google has not taken a public stand on driving while... Glassing. In a statement provided to the Associated Press, the Mountain View company said that the device "is built to connect you more with the world around you, not distract you from it. Explorers should always use Glass responsibly and put their safety and the safety of others first."