Lenny Ignelzi/AP

But it's still unclear whether wearing the device is truly legal while driving.

Last October, San Diego resident Cecilia Abadie received the first known ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass, sparking a national debate about whether or how the device should be regulated for drivers.

After posting a scan of her ticket online, Abadie got plenty of encouragement to take the case to court. In December, she did, and on Thursday, she won. San Diego Commissioner John Blair dismissed the case due to a lack of evidence that Abadie's Google Glass device was turned on while she was driving.  

Abadie coming out of court on Thursday. (screenshot from a video clip from a NBC San Diego news report) 

Although Blair dismissed Abadie's case, he did say that he believes Google Glass falls under a California law that forbids the use of a video screen in front of a driver while he or she is driving.

Ultimately, the ruling means Google Glass owners in California can still take their chances and officers can still hand out Google Glass tickets at their discretion. If similar cases are taken to court, the tricky part will still be determining whether a driver's Glass device is turned on and how much of a distraction it is.

According to NBC San Diego, Abadie contended in court that she wears her Glass all the time but keeps it off while driving. The officer who issued the ticket, however, testified that the Glass device covered half of Abadie's right eye, blocking her peripheral vision.

Technology blog Gigaom has argued that the legal uncertainty surrounding Glass could hamper its potential to actually improve driver safety, for example, with an app that prevents a driver from falling asleep at the wheel.

In several U.S. states, some clarity could be coming soon. Delaware, West Virginia, and New Jersey have all drafted laws that would ban Google Glass while driving. 

Top image: Abadie puts on her Google Glass outside of traffic court in December (AP

About the Author

Jenny Xie
Jenny Xie

Jenny Xie is a fellow at CityLab. 

Most Popular

  1. Members of a tenants' organization in East Harlem gather outside the office of landlord developer Dawnay, Day Group, as lawyers attempt to serve the company with court papers on behalf of tenants, during a press conference in New York. The tenant's group, Movement for Justice in El Barrio, filed suit against Dawnay, Day Group, the London-based investment corporation "for harassing tenants by falsely and illegally charging fees in attempts to push immigrant families from their homes and gentrify the neighborhood," said Chaumtoli Huq, an attorney for the tenants.
    Equity

    Toward Being a Better Gentrifier

    There’s a right way and a wrong way to be a neighbor during a time of rapid community change.

  2. Homeless individuals inside a shelter in Vienna in 2010
    Equity

    How Vienna Solved Homelessness

    What lessons could Seattle draw from their success?

  3. Postcards showing the Woodner when it used to be a luxury apartment-hotel in the '50s and '60s, from the collection of John DeFerrari
    Equity

    The Neighborhood Inside a Building

    D.C.’s massive Woodner apartment building has lived many lives—from fancy hotel to one of the last bastions of affordable housing in a gentrifying neighborhood. Now, it’s on the brink of another change.

  4. Mack Donohue, who has been homeless since 2008, carries his belongings into a shelter in Boston, Massachusetts February 27, 2015.
    Equity

    Rethinking Homeless Shelters From the Ground Up

    One nonprofit wants to reward results, and change the funding model in the process.

  5. Design

    The Military Declares War on Sprawl

    The Pentagon thinks better designed, more walkable bases can help curb obesity and improve troops’ fitness.