California Highway Patrol office Keith Odle, left, attorney William M. Concidine, center, along with Cecilia Abadie, right, speak during a news conference, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in San Diego. / By John Gastaldo, AP
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A San Diego traffic court threw out a citation Thursday against a woman who authorities said was driving while wearing the Google Glass computer-in-eyeglass device.
Commissioner John Blair ruled that Cecilia Abadie was not guilty because the code she was cited for requires proof that the device was in operation.
Blair found there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Abadie is believed to be the first motorist cited for wearing Google Glass while driving. She was also found not guilty of speeding.
Abadie, a software developer, is among some 30,000 people called "explorers" who have been selected to try out Google Glass before the technology becomes widely available to the public later this year.
The device on a kind of glass-wear frame features a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye.
Abadie was pulled over in October on a San Diego freeway. The California Highway Patrol officer 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 had pleaded not guilty to both charges in San Diego traffic court. Her attorney William Concidine previously said the device was not activated when she was driving.
The CHP previously declined comment. At the time of Abadie's citation, the agency said anything that takes a driver's attention from the road is dangerous.
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 email, learn background about something the wearer is looking at, or to get driving directions.
Legislators in at least three states - Delaware, New Jersey and West Virginia - have introduced bills that would ban driving with Google Glass.
Google's website contains an advisory for users: "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."
Vivek Wadhwa, a fellow at Stanford Law School, said the lower court ruling does not set a legal precedent but marks the start of what he expects will be a number of similar challenges.
From driverless cars to wearable devices that can enhance human functions, Wadhwa said, there are a host of legal questions to be answered. For example, when a Google-operated car is on the road and hits someone, who is responsible - the passenger, car manufacturer or software developer?
"The fun is just starting," he said.
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