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Driver accused over Google Glass

Fri, 01 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0700

AN EARLY ADOPTER of Google's Internet-connected glasses plans to fight a fine for wearing the device while driving in California.

She says the technology makes navigation easier than smartphones and GPS devices.

Cecilia Abadie was pulled over for speeding and a California Highway Patrol officer noticed she was wearing Google Glass and added a ticket usually given to drivers who may be distracted by a video or TV screen.

A challenge to what may be a first-of-its-kind fine could force authorities to consider how best to regulate evolving gadgetry that will one day become mainstream.

The glasses, which are not yet widely available to the public, feature a hidden computer and a thumbnail-size transparent display screen above the right eye.

Users can scan maps for directions - as well as receive web search results, read email and engage in video chats - without reaching for a smartphone.

Abadie, a software developer, told The Associated Press that she was not using her Google Glass when she was pulled over.

She said she is surprised that wearing the glasses would be illegal and that she's "pretty sure" she will fight the ticket.

"The law is not clear, the laws are very outdated," she said, suggesting that navigating with the device could be less distracting than with a GPS unit or phone.

Though Google Glass users can continue looking ahead, by glancing at the screen they still divert attention from the roadway and that can make the headgear dangerous, according to David Strayer, director of the University of Utah's Centre for the Prevention of Distracted Driving.

Politicians in at least three states - Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia - have introduced bills that would ban driving with Google Glass.

A spokesman for Google did not reply to a request for comment.

On its website, Google says this 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."

About 10,000 units of the glasses have been distributed so far in the United States to "pioneers," and this week Google announced another 30,000 would be available for 1,500 dollars (£935) apiece.

By Press Association reporters