Driving drunk is tho illegal, also with a driver-assistance system active.

You are watching: Can you get a dui in a self driving tesla

Timothy B. Lee - january 22, 2018 4:56 afternoon UTC


A san Francisco Tesla owner has actually learned the hard method that Tesla"s Autopilot feature does no excuse gaining behind the wheel if intoxicated. On Saturday, January 13, police found a male in his Tesla auto on the San Francisco–Oakland bay Bridge. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the "the man had apparently passed the end in the stopped car while stuck in the flow of busy bridge web traffic at 5:30pm, according come the California Highway Patrol."

When police wake up the guy up, the assured police officers that whatever was fine due to the fact that the auto was "on autopilot." no one was injured in the incident, and the California Highway Patrol make a snarky tweet about it:

When u pass out behind the wheel on the Bay bridge with much more than 2x legitimate alcohol BAC limit and are uncovered by a CHP Motor. Driver defined Tesla had been collection on autopilot. He was arrested and also charged with apprehension of DUI. Automobile towed (no the didn’t drive itself to the tow yard). Pic.twitter.com/4NSRlOBRBL

— CHP mountain Francisco (
CHPSanFrancisco) January 19, 2018

Needless come say, various other Tesla owners—and civilization who own contending systems prefer Cadillac"s at sight Cruise—should no follow this guy"s example. No dare on the sector right currently have totally driverless an innovation available. Autopilot, Supercruise, and also other commodities are driver assistance products—they"re draft to run with one attentive human driver together a backup. Driving drunk using among these systems is simply as illegal together driving drunk in a standard car.


It is feasible that the Autopilot function saved the man"s life—or the lives of others on the roadway at the time. Autopilot requires the driver to keep his hand on the wheel. If the driver ignores the car"s warnings to placed his hands ago on the wheel, it will come to a gradual stop. This could explain just how the car wound up quit on the bay Bridge. Blocking website traffic is bad, but the outcome could have been also worse if he"d fallen asleep behind the wheel of a auto with no driver-assistance features.

Of course, the doesn"t justify acquiring behind the wheel drunk. Even with Autopilot engaged, driving drunk is illegal and dangerous. The man should have referred to as a cab, gained a ride with a friend, or bring away transit to get home.

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In the next pair of years, we might see Waymo, GM"s Cruise, and also other suppliers offer totally driverless vehicle technologies. If those vehicles live up to the hype, then it really can be safe for civilization to gain into those vehicles if intoxicated—though it can take time for state legislation to capture up.

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Timothy B. Lee Timothy is a an elderly reporter covering tech policy, blockchain technologies and the future of transportation. He lives in Washington DC. Email timothy.lee