SAN DIEGO (AP) — 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 language of 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 that Blair said could be broad enough to apply to Google Glass.
The device in a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
Abadie said she was happy she won her case but hoped the court would have ruled that Google Glass is legal to wear while driving whether activated or not.
"I believe it's an initial success but we have a long way to go," said Abadie, wearing the device outside the courthouse after the ruling.
Legal experts say the lower court ruling does not set a legal precedent but marks the beginning of a number of cases they expect courts to confront as lawmakers struggle to keep pace with fast-evolving technology.
"The fun is just starting," said Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Standford Law School.
From driverless cars to wearable devices that can enhance human functions, Wadhwa said, there are a host 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, is among some 30,000 people called "explorers" who have been selected to try out Google Glass before the technology becomes widely available to the public later this year.