Man Arrested for DUI Under Suspicion of Using Tesla's Autopilot
The driver was pulled over sometime after 3:37 a.m. while driving south on Highway 101. California Highway Patrol officers noticed his grey Tesla speeding at a rate of 70 mph. After CHP drove up alongside his vehicle, officers noticed he appeared to be asleep at the wheel. They tried to pull him over for several minutes, before passing in front of the Tesla, where the vehicle’s radar is reported to have stopped it automatically.
Officers allegedly tried to wake the driver for several minutes, knocking on his window and issuing warnings until he got out. At that point, he was taken to a Shell station off Embarcadero Road at W. Bayshore Road by one of the officers, while the other officer drove his Tesla off Highway 101. The officer administered a sobriety test and then arrested for suspicion of DUI.
While officials have not issued a ruling yet as to whether the driver activated his Tesla’s “driver assist” feature before falling asleep at the wheel, the CHP did release a statement saying, “We cannot confirm at this time if the ‘driver assist’ feature was activated but considering the vehicle's ability to slow to a stop when [the driver] was asleep, it appears the ‘driver assist’ feature may have been active at the time.”
The Relationship Between Self-Driving Cars and DUIs
This case is indicative of the changing thinking around DUI laws. Given that he appears to have activated Tesla’s “driver assist” feature to essentially use the vehicle as a self-driving car, the incident begs the question, can self-driving cars still get pulled over for DUI? While there are many who believe that the law needs to change as self-driving cars start to hit the market, for the moment, DUI laws remain the same for self-driving cars as they do for any other vehicle. So, even if you were not actively operating your self-driving car at the time you were pulled over, you could still be arrested for operating a motor vehicle under the influence, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was above the legal limit.
Hire a Contra Costa County Attorney for Your DUI Charges Today
It is unfair for the law to treat the relationship between DUIs and self-driving cars the same as the relationship between DUIs and other vehicles. If you or someone you know has been charged with driving under the influence in a similar case, you are entitled to seek representation from an experienced attorney.
At The Blalock Law Firm, PC, our DUI lawyer in Walnut Creek, CA has been offering assistance to those who have been unfairly charged for more than 21 years. By looking at the individual facts of every case and treating each one of our clients with compassion, we are able to deal with issues such as license suspension, expungements, and child endangerment. We only defend DUI cases, so we will be able to answer all your questions, and we offer free consultations before you commit to anything. Remember, in California, it only takes 10 days to lose your license after a DUI. Don’t wait, contract The Blalock Law Firm, PC and put your DUI in the rearview mirror today.
Our firm has offices across Northern California, and are are available by phone at (925) 259-3270 or online for your convenience.