Self Driving Vehicles and DUI
New automobile technologies evolve rapidly. Tech experts put a lot of emphasis on increasing safety and negating the risk of human error through the implementation of the right software program. Vehicles that enable autopilot driving are becoming a more common thing and they’ll obviously have an effect on traffic laws in the future. Today, however, is it possible to switch the autopilot on after you’ve consumed alcohol, let the vehicle take you to the final destination and avoid DUI charges? Let’s find out about self driving vehicles and DUI.
Self Driving Vehicles and DUI in Arizona
Arizona has already had a few crashes involving a self-driving vehicle. In March 2017, a self-driving Uber Volvo was hit in Tempe. While the Uber had the right of way, another driver committed a traffic violation that caused the accident.
Arizona is one of the states that encourage the testing of autonomous vehicles. The accident mentioned here is yet another example of how self-driving cars could save many lives. Many humans are terrible drivers that tend to get distracted easily. Computer precision is so far appearing promising as far as driving safety is concerned.
Tesla investigation shows that automobiles equipped with auto-pilot technology crash 40 percent less often than the ones that lack such equipment. What happens when a driver gets pulled over for driving under the influence, however?
Does the Autopilot Provide a Reasonable DUI Defense Scenario?
In January 2018, a drunk driver was questioned by the police after he fell asleep in his Tesla 3. The driver claimed that the car was on autopilot. The man was also found to have two times the legal blood alcohol limit and he was arrested on DUI charges.
The defense didn’t stand the test. Many lawyers are questioning current DUI regulations and whether these should be modified to account for autonomous automobiles. Under the current legislature, however, a driver who is in a self-driving vehicle can still get a DUI conviction (even if the autopilot was engaged at the time).
This accident occurred in San Francisco but Phoenix police in Arizona has had a similar experience with an intoxicated Tesla driver in 2017.
The reason why the autopilot defense falls flat in court is because the cars aren’t fully-capable of autonomous operation.
At the time being, self-driving cars can steer intelligently, increase or decrease the speed. The driver, however, will be responsible for monitoring the traffic conditions and taking over control in case an unexpected change takes place. When an accident occurs or a traffic violation is committed, the driver is still to blame rather than the car’s software.
In the future, autonomous driving is likely to develop even further. When cars are equipped with two driving modes (manual and automatic), however, it will still be up to the police officer to determine whether the autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident.
Drunk “Driving” an Intelligent Car – Not a Good Idea!
People are excited about vehicle innovations and rightfully so. Some of them, however, believe that the current level of automation eliminates the risk for human error.
This isn’t the case right now.
Drinking alcohol and getting behind the wheel, even if you have a car with autopilot function, is not a good idea. The car will be incapable of “reacting” when somebody speeds or fails to maintain sufficient distance. This is why the driver’s hands have to be on the steering wheel, even when the autopilot is engaged.
Driving drunk is illegal, regardless of the automobile you’re driving. Autopilot may give you a false sense of security but there’s still some risk of injuring others or potentially taking away lives. Until the self-driving technology is taken to a whole new level, you should stick to the currently approved safety practices for self driving vehicles and DUI prevention.