Can Amish drive Teslas?
Can You Get a DUI if Drunk in Tesla Autopilot or Self-Driving Car?
Self-driving cars have the potential to revolutionize the way we travel and impact many other aspects of our lives. An automaker that’s at the forefront of this technology is Tesla — with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode. While autonomous cars, ideally, can improve safety, some Tesla owners abuse this technology. This includes “driving” under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. With this in mind, can you get arrested and charged for a DUI if drunk while using Tesla Autopilot, FSD, or a self-driving car?
Tesla models are not completely autonomous — both practically and legally
A controversial element of Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving mode is they are not truly autonomous — from both a practical and legal standpoint. As currently built, they require a driver to be awake, lucid, and attentive. Their hands should be on the wheel and be ready to take the controls. When properly used, this technology can enhance safety and provide a more convenient ride for drivers.
However, the autonomous aspects of Tesla Autopilot and the more advanced FSD is they give drivers a false sense of security. Many owners have used Autopilot and FSD while drunk, sleeping, or inattentive driving. Some make it home safely, such as a drunk Tesla owner in California this past Christmas, as detailed by Business Insider. On a Twitter Spaces chat, he boasted, “I admitted the other day, I was a little bit tipsy after Christmas. I was probably drunk. But with FSD, it drove me home, I mean, flawlessly.”
However, there are hundreds of reports of car crashes with Autopilot and FSD. A recent example is an intoxicated driver in Paradise, California. He crashed and totaled his Tesla earlier in December while using Autopilot, per Rum Raiders. It was a strange accident. The drunk driver veered off into an embankment, smashed through two fences, and then landed on top of a large rock.
You can get arrested for a DUI if drunk in a self-driving car, including Tesla Autopilot and FSD
Due to not yet being completely autonomous, the police can arrest and charge you for a DUI if drunk in a self-driving car. This includes using Tesla Autopilot and Full Self-Driving mode. Attorney Daniel D. Hajji and Artz & Sturm Law Group detailed the illegality of these actions.
In the case of the Paradise, California driver that wrecked his Tesla while drunk, the police arrested him for a DUI. His blood alcohol level was 0.25% — which is more than three times the 0.08% legal limit in California. There was another incident in 2021 in Glendale, California. The female driver was drunk and passed-out with Tesla Autopilot activated. Her car then hit a wall on a highway. Like in the more recent case, she received a DUI.
Since Tesla and other cars with self-driving features are not yet capable of being fully autonomous, motor vehicle regulations treat them as any other vehicle. You are still responsible for your actions while behind the wheel. Whether driving a classic 1928 Ford Model A or a Tesla with Autopilot and FSD, the law is the same. If you’re over the legal blood alcohol limit for alcohol, you can get arrested for a DUI.
Future of autonomous vehicles and possible changes for laws
However, in the coming years, if self-driving cars advance to truly become fully autonomous, the laws may change too. In the future, people might be free to drink alcohol and do other debaucherous activities in autonomous vehicles — without landing in jail.
Tesla unveils car design without a steering wheel, coming within 2 years, says Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the automaker will deliver a car without a steering wheel within 2 years – an important change in Tesla’s self-driving strategy.
Yesterday, Tesla was holding an ‘Autonomy Day’ for investors during which it has made several presentations about its effort to bring to market a full self-driving system.
You can visit our Tesla Autonomy Event news hub for all coverage of the series of presentations and announcements made by the automaker at the event today.
Unlike most other companies working on self-driving systems, Tesla is taking the approach of delivering vehicles to customers that they can use right now as regular cars but with the hardware required to eventually achieve full self-driving with future software updates.
It is completely different from companies like Waymo or Uber who are working on vehicles solely built for autonomous ride-sharing services.
GM also claims that it is bringing an autonomous Bolt EV without a steering wheel to production by the end of the year.
At the Autonomy Day, Tesla unveiled its own design for a vehicle without a steering wheel:
The CEO said that they would eventually also remove the steering wheel for their fleet of Robotaxis. He said that Tesla would literally simply unbolt the steering wheel and put a cap on the dash cutout where the steering column is currently located.
“I think there will be a transition period where people are able to take over from the robotaxi but once regulators are comfortable with us not having a steering wheel, we will just delete that.”
He said that for cars that are already on the fleet, Tesla would offer retrofits to owners.
Many speculated that Tesla’s Model 3 interior design was built around working just as well without a steering wheel and this image sort of prove their point.
Musk says that consumers will eventually be asking for it:
“The probability of the steering wheel being taken away is 100%. Consumers will demand it.”
He predicted that “consumers will demand that people are not allowed to drive these 2-ton death machines” and therefore, it will make sense to take away the steering wheel.
Ever since we saw the original Model 3 design, we have been intrigued by what it would like without a steering wheel due to the symmetry of the dashboard and whether that was taken into account by Tesla for a self-driving future.
It looks like we have our answer now.
It’s also interesting how Elon talks about offering retrofits to remove the steering wheel to current owners. If you look at where the steering column comes out of the dash in the Model 3, it indeed seems like it would be easy to make it look like there never was a steering wheel coming out of the dash.
I think it all makes sense. The only thing I am more concerned about is the timeline.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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CITY PURCHASES FIRST ELECTRIC VEHICLE
The City of Goshen has purchased its first electric vehicle in an effort to further test alternative fuel cars and their impact to the City’s budget and the environment. After careful research, the City’s Central Garage Department purchased a Tesla Model 3. The long-term plan is for the car to be shared among department heads and staff for driving to meetings within the region. A charging station also will be installed outside of City Hall, 202 S. 5 th St., for public access. With a range of up to 325 miles per charge, the Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000, making it one of the most affordable electric vehicles in the market with the longest range for its pricing. The mayor currently drives a 2018 Jeep Cherokee. If switched, the Tesla would save the City about $1,200 on gas costs annually and it would save the environment about 5.4 metric tons of tailpipe gas emissions per year. Carl Gaines, fleet manager at the Central Garage, said his department expects considerable savings on maintenance costs, since electric vehicles do not require change in fluids and the car has minimal moving parts. “Goshen City Council has set a carbon neutrality date, for Goshen City government, of 2035,” Mayor Stutsman said. “In an effort to work toward that goal, we will continue to move forward with initiatives like upgrading our fleet to electric or hybrid cars wherever it is feasible. Using the data we collect over the next six months of utilizing the electric car, will help guide how we move forward with fleet changes into the future.” The City already has a number of Toyota Prius (hybrid electric vehicles), which are used by some staff to commute and drive around town. The Police Department also is in talks with the Central Garage in hopes to acquire hybrid vehicles in the near future. The new electric and hybrid fleet of vehicles will also serve as an educational tool, “to help us learn about the various models of alternate fuel vehicles,” said Aaron Sawatsky-Kingsley, head of the City’s Department of Environmental Resilience. “We want residents to know that choosing an electric vehicle can be reasonably budgeted, and that there are benefits to going electric, aside from lowering greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “Being able to see an electric car up close, knowing how it works and how much they cost can help the public make educated choices if they want to purchase an alternative fuel vehicle.” Electric and hybrid electric vehicles have gained popularity in the last decade, with well over 25 different vehicle manufacturers producing about 100 different models for the US, according to the US Department of Energy. All-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500. To learn more about electric and hybrid vehicles, and potential federal and state incentives, go to fueleconomy.gov.
This entry was posted in Blog, News & Events on October 2, 2019 by Sharon .
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