Can a driver in Florida get a DUI in a Self Driving Autonomous Vehicle? Video Courtesy of https://dui2go.com/
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Can you get a DUI in a Tesla or self-driving car?
What happens when a driver in a self-driving car gets stopped in charged with DUI? Some Scholars have written about this and I thought we might review this issue.
In Tesla automobiles, this feature is referred to as autopilot. It is not truly self-driving as Tesla has referred to it as semi-autonomous driving. Other car manufacturers have also tried developing autopilot technology.
In January 2018, a California a driver was found on the San Francisco Bay Bridge with alcohol level twice the legal limit he got a DUI and his defense was that he wasn't driving the car because it was on autopilot. Tesla has instructed autopilot drivers to maintain Consciousness while driving and to keep their hands on the steering wheel. In this arrest, the California Highway Patrol he explained that the Tesla was on autopilot even though it was he was arrested and charged with DUI and they tweeted that the car didn't drive itself to the tow yard.
Florida has a law that prohibits a driver from being in actual physical control of a vehicle. Florida doesn't even require a driver to be moving at the time of a DUI arrest it only requires that the vehicle is capable of being moved. The cases discuss the location of the keys and whether or not the vehicle was operable.
Under this broad definition of driving or actual physical control of a vehicle it is highly unlikely and operator of a self-driving car would beat a DUI on that defense. It is probable that the court would find the driver was in actual physical control of the vehicle. Apparently some Vehicles equipped with these automatic driving features have contracts that require them to keep hands on the steering wheel even when the vehicle is in autopilot mode.