A woman in Temecula, California, who was wearing Google Glass eye-wear while driving, was found not guilty of distracted driving, according to the Los Angeles Times, after she was issued a ticket by California Highway Patrol. In this particular case, the judge determined that officers would have to be able to prove that the driver of the vehicle actually had the Google Glass turned on, rather than just on the driver’s head, to possibly prove the driver was distracted.
This driver was charged under California Vehicle Code Section 27602, which was written to prevent drivers from looking at a video type of screen while driving. Here, the argument would be that the Google Glass device does not provide any distraction when simply worn, but not turned on.
While Google Glass is only being used by a trial number of people at the moment, it is only a matter of time before the devices become more common and we will probably eventually see a Los Angeles car accident where a claim is made, possibly against Google, because of Google Glass distracting a driver. Without having too much knowledge of how Google Glass works, it appears to me that Google’s argument will be that drivers should not use the device while driving, just like drivers should not be texting or watching a DVD on a video monitor. Unless there is something about the Google Glass that encourages users to use it while driving, it is hard to imagine liability being placed on Google, when a user decides to use the product while driving.
If, however, there are features in Google Glass that encourage use by drivers, then it will have to be examined whether the device actually distracts drivers. In such a case, there could potentially be liability. Currently, we are not aware of any such cases that may establish a precedent.
If you are involved in an accident in which you suspect that the driver of the other vehicle was distracted, it is very important that you point out the distraction to the responding police officer, so that it can be noted in the Traffic Collision Report. You should also give this information to your California personal injury lawyer, so your attorney can use it to help prove liability against the other party.