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Southern California driver cited for Google Glass to fight ticket

LOS ANGELES — An early adopter of Google's Internet-connected eyeglasses plans to fight a citation for wearing the device while driving in San Diego, saying the technology makes navigation easier than smartphones and GPS devices.

Driver Cecilia Abadie was pulled over for speeding Tuesday evening, when a California Highway Patrol officer noticed she was wearing Google Glass and tacked on a citation 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 citation could force authorities to re-examine laws and consider how best to regulate evolving gadgetry that will one day become mainstream.

The lightweight eyeglasses, 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 phone.

About 10,000 have been distributed so far in the United States to "explorers" like Abadie, and this week Google announced another 30,000 would be available for $1,500 apiece. Abadie, a software developer, got what she describes as the life-changing technology in May.

In an interview Thursday, she said she was not using her Google Glass when she was pulled over for allegedly going about 80 mph in a 65 mph zone on the drive home to Temecula after visiting a friend.

"The Glass was on, but I wasn't actively using it" to conserve the battery, she said. The device becomes inactive if it's not asked to perform a task.

Abadie expressed surprise that wearing the glasses while driving would be illegal and said she's "pretty sure" she will fight the ticket. First, she said, she needs to seek legal counsel. In the flurry of online commentary her traffic stop has generated, several people saying they are attorneys offered their services.

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