DUI and Driverless Cars

May 17th, 2017 at 7:27 am

driverless cars, Rolling Meadows DUI Defense AttorneyWith technology becoming more of an integral part in our vehicles, the prospect of having our roadways dominated by self-driving cars is inching closer to reality. It is not hard to identify the perks of driverless cars. Fewer accidents and less road rage incidents are what some autonomous car designers are pointing to with their investors.

One major issue developers are hoping for is that driverless cars will help solve, if not eradicate, the issue of drunk driving. In theory, one would be able get into his or her self-driving car, push some buttons, and have his or her car deliver the individual safely to his or her destination.

Yet one of the looming questions about whether a person in a driverless car is operating the vehicle for the purposes of a DUI law is the question of who is actually in control.

Autopilot or No Pilot?

One of the first instances of a fatal car accident involving a driverless car was the case where a man was killed inside of an autonomous Tesla. The individual had the car on autopilot when the accident happened. Tesla pointed to the fact that even though the car was in autopilot mode, the driver was still required to have his or her hands on the steering wheel and was responsible for the trajectory of the car.

The legal question then becomes, when a car is on autopilot who is controlling the car? Is the liability and or responsibility that of the manufacturer of the software or the driver who gave the car the directions of where to go?

DUI Law and Physical Control

DUI laws across the nation generally have one factor in common: laws require a person to be in actual physical control of a vehicle for him or her to be guilty of a DUI. This can present a legal paradox. Currently, if a police officer sees a car swerving erratically, there is little question with regard to who is in control of the car. Yet how will the same play out when a driver insists a car was driving itself?

Although autonomous vehicles are still a relatively new design, with little legal precedent set as of yet, it is not likely that the “car was doing the driving,” excuse is going to get you out of hot water.

Rolling Meadows DUI Defense

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, please understand the seriousness of the charge. A DUI conviction can land you in jail, get your license suspended, or prevent you from getting certain professional licenses. Contact your Rolling Meadows DUI defense attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley to schedule your consultation. Call 847-394-3200 today.

Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/business/joshua-brown-technology-enthusiast-tested-the-limits-of-his-tesla.html

https://www.isp.state.il.us/traffic/drnkdriving.cfm

Written by Staff Writer

May 17th, 2017 at 7:27 am