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

Long Island DUI Lawyers

What do Self-Driving Cars Mean for DUIs?

The advancement of GPS and artificial intelligence technology has led to the possibility of self-driving vehicles within our lifetimes. Although some people are ambivalent about the idea of handing over the wheel to a computer, self-driving vehicle technology could drastically reduce accidents and traffic if perfected. This is due to the fact that a computer’s reaction time is much faster than a human’s; but how does that impact DUI charges?

However, there are also a lot of legal questions when it comes to self-driving cars. For instance, who is held responsible if a self-driving car causes an accident? If the person in the car has been drinking, would they be considered to be driving while intoxicated?

Self-Driving Cars and DUIs

One of the challenges in understanding this issue is that there is not a nationwide law concerning whether a self-driving car can be considered an autonomous vehicle. Currently, individual states have laws that apply, but the law is still a little unclear as to how DUI law might apply to a fully autonomous car.

One potential argument for DUIs still being a factor is that the operator of the car – the one who is supervising the vehicle – would need to adhere to the same driving while impaired laws as any other driver. In this case, someone could get charged with a DUI even if he or she had a self-driving vehicle.

This will likely be one of the major arguments to affect the first wave of self-driving cars, at least until there are clearer laws in place.

Another factor to consider is that most autonomous cars currently allow the self-driving functionality to be disabled, meaning someone who had been simply riding could take control of the vehicle at any time.

Open Container Laws Might Still Apply

Open container laws present additional concerns. While these laws also vary from state-to-state, it is illegal to carry an open container of alcohol in public in New York. This includes vehicles, whether they are being driven or parked. If open container laws are not modified, then they would still apply for people just riding in self-driving cars.

Although some effort has been made to lighten these rules, people who violate New York’s open container laws can still be fined, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

Speak with a Long Island DUI Attorney at 888-DUI-Lawyer Today

Self-driving cars are not the perfect answer. In short, it will probably be a long time even after self-driving cars become popular before this technology gets rid of DUIs, if it ever actually does. There are other reasons to stay alert when using an autonomous vehicle, such as if you need to take control of the car in the event of an emergency. It is possible that autonomous cars will make the roads a lot safer, but it is highly unlikely they will completely erase the responsibility of the people using them.

If you have questions about how this technology might impact laws in New York or about a specific DUI case, contact the Long Island drunk driving defense attorneys at 888-DUI-Lawyer for immediate 24/7 assistance. You can also contact our DUI lawyers online.  We are happy to help with any of your legal concerns.




(c) Can Stock Photo / AndreyPopov

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