DUIs And Self-Driving Vehicles

Posted on: 12 February 2020


Do you look forward to the future with self-driving cars? Many people are already using self-driving and autonomous cars to get around. These cars seemingly cause fewer accidents because they have fewer driver errors.

But what happens when you get into a self-driving car after you have been drinking alcohol? Could you be charged with a DUI when you are in the driver's seat? What if everybody sitting in the vehicle is intoxicated? The issue is a little more complicated than you might think.

What Are Your Responsibilities in a Self-Driving Car?

You might think that getting into a self-driving car means you have no responsibilities. Are you relying on the software to be completely safe? In many cases, autopilot features call for those sitting in the driver's seat to have their hands on or near the wheel at all times. This means the person in this seat still needs to be able to control the car should something happen. While this may not be the case forever, it is important to consider that this could be the law in your area.

The truth is that we don't know a lot about how laws are going to influence automated cars. Until the laws catch up with the technology, which likely will not happen until the technology is more common, we will not know exactly what your responsibilities are when you sit in a self-driving car.

Can You Get a DUI in a Self-Driving Car?

Right now, most states have laws that specify that a driver must be in physical control of a vehicle in order to have a DUI. In most DUI cases, an officer needs to have probable cause to pull somebody over. They might see the driver swerve, for example. Of course, the idea of what "control" means may differ from state to state, so it is important that you pay attention to your local laws before you get behind the wheel of a self-driving car in any situation.

The question of control is what it all comes down to. If you are accused of a DUI while in a self-driving car, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney. You need to see if the laws are on par with the technology available. These are serious charges, and you need to know that you are in good hands if you challenge these criminal charges in court.

To learn more, contact a DUI defense attorney.