Californian driver ticketed for using Google Glass
Are cyclists using head-up displays legal?
A driver in California has been issued with a ticket for wearing Google Glass eyewear while driving, in what’s believed to be the first case of its kind.
Cecilia Abadie was initially pulled over for speeding on October 30, when the officer noticed the high-tech eyewear which runs Android apps and has a display next to the wearer’s eye.
The patrolman judged that the display impeded Abadie’s field of view and contravened California’s anti-distraction laws which forbid visible displays in cars, with exceptions for specified devices such as GPS units.
Fortunately for California’s cyclists the rules appear to only apply to motor vehicles. That means that cyclists usingGoogle Glass or the ReconJet head-up display are probably in the clear for the moment
Abadie has claimed that the headset was turned off at the time, but it’s not clear if that’s sufficient defence to get her off the charge.
The relevant section of the California vehicle code specifies that the you can’t drive if a monitor visible from the front seat is operating, but it also requires that such a screen should only be capable of being used as a GPS, car information display or manoeuvring assist while the vehicle is moving.
In the UK, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations have similar provisions. In 2010 a Blackburn man was fined for watching TV while driving, and the regulations mention displays that are able to show information from a computer. As in California, there are exceptions for GPS devices and the like.
However, the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations don’t apply to bicycles, as far as we can tell, so Google Glass and ReconJet are probably legal on a bike here.