This may be the first ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving

by Chris Morran, Consumerist

California law prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle when some sort of video screen is showing “entertainment or business applications” that are in the front seat area or otherwise visible to the driver. And at least one police officer in San Diego thinks this law applies to Google Glass.googleticket-sm

Engadget points us to this Google+ post of a woman who posted a photo of her ticket online while seeking legal advice from the rest of the world.

The driver writes:

  •  A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving!
  •  The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass).
  •  Is #GoogleGlass ilegal while driving or is this cop wrong???
  • Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other #GlassExplorers that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?

The specific law, available here, that the officer appears to believe she violated reads:

  • A person shall not drive a motor vehicle if a television receiver, a video monitor, or a television or video screen, or any other similar means of visually displaying a television broadcast or video signal that produces entertainment or business applications, is operating and is located in the motor vehicle at a point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or is operating and the monitor, screen, or display is visible to the driver while driving the motor vehicle.

It also provides exceptions for vehicle information displays, GPS and map system displays, screens for things like rearview cameras and other displays “for the purpose of maneuvering the vehicle.”

The big question is whether the simple wearing of a Google Glass device violates the law. We’re not lawyers, but citing someone for wearing the device while it’s not turned on seems like giving someone a ticket for driving with an unplugged TV set in the front seat.

If wearing Google Glass while driving is against the law in California, then does that also apply to other wearable screens like the Samsung watch?

Another question that will inevitably be answered by a court or legislature is whether you can use GPS and mapping apps on Google Glass and other devices while driving. Are they any more of a distraction than the ones already in and on our cars’ dashboards?