In what is believed to be the first distracted driving case of its kind, a woman was ticketed for wearing Google Glass while driving on a California freeway. The driver has pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying that the device was not turned on while she was driving.
What is Google Glass?
Google Glass is a tiny computer that is worn on a head-mounted display that resembles a pair of glasses. With functionality similar to that of a smartphone, it can be used for things like taking pictures, getting directions, sending messages or conducting simple Internet queries.
The device utilizes a small display above the wearer’s right eye, and can be operated with voice commands or a small touch pad located along its side. Google Glass is currently under development and is not yet available to the general public, but thousands of people across the country have received early versions of the device as part of a testing program.
Google Glass and distracted driving in California
Because conversations about distracted driving have focused heavily on cellphone use and texting in recent years, people may not realize that other behaviors can also be considered distracted driving and may increase the risk of traffic accidents.
In the recent Google Glass case, for instance, the woman was cited under a provision of the California traffic code that prohibits televisions and other electronic monitors from being turned on and facing toward a driver while a vehicle in motion. Although that law does not specifically prohibit drivers from using Google Glass, the law is broad enough that it can be argued to apply to the device. However, it remains to be seen how the law may apply in this case if, as the driver claims, the device was not switched on.
Other forms of driving in California
Along with the statute at issue in the Google Glass case, which is limited to TV screens and other types of monitors, California lawmakers have also passed specific legislation to address the widespread issue of texting while driving – one of today’s most dangerous and widespread types of distracted driving.
Under the California texting ban, it is illegal to use cellphones, tablets or electronic wireless communication devices to write, send or receive text-based communications while driving. This means that drivers are barred not only from sending or receiving text messages, but also emails, chats, instant messages and any other form of text-based communication.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, about 80 percent of traffic accidents involve some type of driver distraction, with cellphone use and texting contributing to a larger share of these crashes than any other type of distraction.
Financial compensation for crash victims
People who are hurt by distracted drivers in California may be able to get help paying for their medical expenses, lost wages and other financial losses resulting from the crash. To learn more about seeking monetary compensation after a distracted driving accident in California, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.