A California woman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to what is believed to be the first traffic citation alleging a motorist was using Google Inc’s computer-in-an-eyeglass.
The device, known as Google Glass, features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
The technology will not be made widely available to the public until next year, but defendant Cecilia Abadie was one of about 10,000 “explorers” who received the glasses earlier this year as part of a tryout.
Her case touches several hot-button issues, including distracted driving, wearable technology that may one day become mainstream and how laws often lag technological developments.
Abadie was pulled over in October on suspicion of going at 129kph in a 105kph zone on a San Diego freeway in California.
The California Highway Patrol officer who stopped her saw she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation usually given to people driving while a video or TV screen is on in the front of their vehicle.
Abadie, a software developer and tech true believer, pleaded not guilty to both charges in a San Diego court.
Her attorney, William Concidine, told media that she will testify at a trial scheduled for January that the glasses were not on when she was driving and activated when she looked up at the officer as he stood by her window.
The device is designed to respond to a head tilt by waking itself up.
Concidine also said the vehicle code listed in the citation applies to video screens in vehicles and is not relevant to mobile technology such as Google Glass.
The California Highway Patrol declined to comment on Concidine’s assertions.
At the time of Abadie’s citation, it said that anything which takes a driver’s attention from the road is dangerous and should be discouraged.
The lightweight frames are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display that responds to voice commands. The technology can be used to do things such as check e-mail, learn background information about whatever the wearer is looking at, or get driving directions.
US legislators in at least three states — Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia — have introduced bills that would specifically ban driving while wearing Google Glass.
Google spokesman Chris Dale said he was not aware of any other tickets issued for driving with the wearable computer.
The tech giant’s Web site contains an advisory about using the headgear while driving: “Read up and follow the law. Above all, even when you’re following the law, don’t hurt yourself or others by failing to pay attention to the road.”