Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Crime Software

Tesla Owner Attempts Autopilot Defense During DUI Stop (arstechnica.com) 139

It turns out driving drunk is still illegal, even with a driver-assistance system active. "On Saturday, January 13, police discovered a man in his Tesla vehicle on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge," reports Ars Technica. "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that 'the man had apparently passed out in the stopped car while stuck in the flow of busy bridge traffic at 5:30pm, according to the California Highway Patrol." From the report: When police woke the man up, he assured officers that everything was fine because the car was "on autopilot." No one was injured in the incident, and the California Highway Patrol made a snarky tweet about it. Needless to say, other Tesla owners -- and people who own competing systems like Cadillac's Super Cruise -- should not follow this guy's example. No cars on the market right now have fully driverless technology available. Autopilot, Supercruise, and other products are driver assistance products -- they're designed to operate with an attentive human driver as a backup. Driving drunk using one of these systems is just as illegal as driving drunk in a conventional car.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tesla Owner Attempts Autopilot Defense During DUI Stop

Comments Filter:
  • I don’t get what their issue is. I pilot my Jumbojets drunk all the time. Damn cops, am I right, guys?
    • The law has caught up
      with Elon's autopilot?
      Passenger seat, bro.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Damn REGULATIONS you mean. If America was run by pure Libertarianism we could drive as drunk as we want and launder money all the way home! This Trump clown is just a half-measure.

      • If America was run by pure Libertarianism we could drive as drunk as we want and launder money all the way home!

        If it was run by pure Libertarianism you wouldn't NEED to launder your money. (Unless the money got physically dirty and you wanted to clean it up rather than trade it in.)

        As for driving drunk: The choice would be yours. But heaven help you if you caused an accident that killed or injured a person or damaged someone else's property. ("Libertarian" doesn't mean "no responsibility for wrongdoing

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Libertarian" doesn't mean "no responsibility for wrongdoing". I agree that it shouldn't. Too bad it does more than not.

          • "Libertarian" doesn't mean "no responsibility for wrongdoing". I agree that it shouldn't. Too bad it does more than not.

            Yeah but say you have no responsibility for running over my kid, then I have no responsibility for snapping both your arms and legs and leaving you on the beach for the tide to come in.

          • Explain to me when a "Libertarian" government has actually existed and people got away with no responsibility for wrongdoing...
             
            /me waits for Somalia to be dropped.

            • No need to go that far. Russia in the early 1990ies was in practice a libertarian paradise since the government was basically powerless, the law enforcement was the best the money could buy and people could get away literally (not figuratively, really literally) with anything if they were able to pay for it.
              This is why Putin is so popular there, by the way. People consider a dictatorship better than what amounts to way too much freedom.

              • "government was basically powerless" doesn't describe a Libertarian government as most people would categorize it. Most mainstream Libertarians espouse a strong but limited central government. A powerless government and private security describes anarchy.

                • This describes how a libertarian government would look in the real world instead of wet dreams. Oh, by the way, Russia in the early 1990ies also qualifies because of its economical policies - laissez faire dog eat dog capitalism, privatising everything until all assets were stripped, a total race to the bottom in goods and services, sending countless people into poverty. Anarchy ist just libertarianism brought to its logical conclusion.

                  • As communism is socialism brought to it's logical conclusion? And an oligarchy is the logical conclusion of democracy?

                    That is by definition the slippery slope fallacy. That if you are for a small government, then logically the ideal would be no government?

        • >("Libertarian" doesn't mean "no responsibility for wrongdoing".)
          How do you explain rich bankers getting away with destroying whole economies and receiving a nice exit-fee on top ?
        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          Nah, it's easy. We just apply a value based on what they deliver to the household. Kids are free, old people aren't bringing in any cash, so when you run them over you should get paid.

          Mom's can be replaced with some sort of daycare, we'll price out a cheap one and pay you the equivalent. Wage earners are worth 20 years of pay. Don't worry about inflation or raises, etc.

          Voila', a libertarian paradise.
  • My fear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CosmeticLobotamy ( 155360 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:12PM (#55982769)

    My fear is that once cars are fully automated, cops will still claim you need to be sober to operate them, and being near your car with the keys will still be worth $25,000 in fines and legal fees.

    • Theoretically they should have no reason to pull you over, other than something like a burned out tail light.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Theoretically they should have no reason to pull you over, other than something like a burned out tail light.

        In California, the Highway Patrol gets to keep much of the fines that are collected for a DUI, unlike the local sheriffs or city police who do not receive a direct cut of these fines and thus don't seek out the fine as aggressively. In California this means that the Highway Patrol, aka state troopers in other states, are highly motivated to find drunk drivers and write up that violation above all others. Some people might look at that and say, "what's the problem? It discourages drunk driving" and that's tr

        • They couldn't care less about your damaged car or who was at fault for damaging your car or your hurt neck.

          Property damage, bodily injury, and fault are (usually) civil claims. The police have no need to investigate an accident if there is no serious bodily injury or crimes committed. In fact, there are many times where an officer may write a ticket to one party, but the other driver is found at fault for the accident (in whole or part). For example, a driver may run a red light when another driver collides them. The police will write a ticket for failing to stop, but if it can be shown that the other driver

    • the eula will make the renter (passenger) liability for any crash even in cars with no controls.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      A fear I have too.

      I don't see how they could possibly do it with wheel/pedal less cars though.

      But there will be cars that can drive unattended in some conditions and locations, but not everywhere, and I'm curious how it will be treated.

      Will a level 4 car that has a wheel and pedals for cases it can't handle (locations or weather I assume are what is meant) count as under driver control?

      I'm willing to bet yes, even when being used autonomously on a route and conditions that it's fine for.

      • count as under driver control civil cases yes (under the eula you can't sue) criminal at least it's in a real court with judges that jail people that try to pull NDA BS.

        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          I'm kind of alright with that, insurance will handle the civil liabilities, and things will remain relatively capped on payout (vs what a multi billion dollar company can do).

          Though I will need to pay the liability insurance, it will likely reduce the overall cost in payouts of liability for self driving cars, making the insurance cheaper vs GM insuring (or self insuring) for said payouts.

          I'm much more concerned about the criminal aspect of riding in an automous (level 4 within it's automous rules) under th

      • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @10:36PM (#55983165) Journal

        But there will be cars that can drive unattended in some conditions and locations, but not everywhere, and I'm curious how it will be treated.

        They'd be treated as the laws and courts decide. Laws and courts can be arbitrary, but they often are reasonable.

        I'd expect that:
          * If the self-driving algorithms are recognized as smart enough to pull over, safely park, and insist a driver take over if things are getting to hairy for them, letting the auto-pilot run the car while you're impaired would be fine (provided you don't try to take over if the autopilot doesn't trust itself, or launch it into a situation where you should have known that the algorithms might fail.)
          * Riding impaired when a "reasonable and prudent" (and non-impaired) person would trust the autopilot would be OK.
          * Letting the auto-pilot take you to a medical facility when you're too out-of-it to drive yourself, as well, would not just be OK but in some cases would let your case win on the "necessity defence" even if the law prohibits it.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          Talking about full autonomous cars here.
          It basically comes down to asking if the person is the driver or the car and if the person can influence the behavior of the car. Will it allow Dave to open the doors while driving or not?
          Can the person take over control, or not?

          i.e. I get in the car sober for a 5 hour drive to some place. I am in the car with my SO and we open a bottle of whiskey and start drinking and open a second bottle. So now we are well beyond able to drive. We get in an accident. Who is respon

    • Nobody cares what the cops think or want or claim. The State Legislature will determine the rule in consultation with the DMV.

    • Lyft is saying they'll have driverless cars by 2020, IIRC.

      What happens then if I'm passed out drunk in a driverless Lyft?

      • by cstacy ( 534252 )

        Lyft is saying they'll have driverless cars by 2020, IIRC.

        What happens then if I'm passed out drunk in a driverless Lyft?

        Depends on whether it's a "Pool" ride or not, mainly.

      • What happens then if I'm passed out drunk in a driverless Lyft?

        What happens if you are passed out drunk in the back of a taxi today? Are you in any way considered to be the operator of the vehicle?

      • What happens then if I'm passed out drunk in a driverless Lyft?

        The Lyft car will be programmed to drop you off at the Soylent Green factory, just outside of town.

    • My fear is that once cars are fully automated, cops will still claim you need to be sober to operate them,

      Because the laws will still claim you need to be sober to operate them. Operating a motor vehicle, even a driverless one, will still be operating. It will take a change in the laws before you can be legally stoned or drunk while operating an AV. And that's only if the AV has no "cry for help" mode that requires a human to interact with it. You can expect that to be a clause in any DWI or DUII or whatever your state calls it.

    • by kiviQr ( 3443687 )
      NOT when there are no more steering wheel and pedals.
    • Why is this modded as interesting? This is hardly a valid fear. Because of the liability involved with the criminality of an act like drunk driving, if legislators don't adjudicate whose at fault in driverless cars, the supreme court will. Legislatures want those lobbying dollars to flow in before the court makes the decision for them. Once the liability gets pinned on car manufacturers, good luck pinning it back on the occupants.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      My fear is that once cars are fully automated, cops will still claim you need to be sober to operate them, and being near your car with the keys will still be worth $25,000 in fines and legal fees.

      My fear is that some people will think it's OK to operate heavy and potentially dangerous machinery whilst drunk, high or distracted. Some say this has already happened.

      If you're in charge of an automated machine, you should be sober. Liability will never be moved to manufacturers even under full automation, people thinking that autonomous cars are going to be faster going eleventy bajillion leptons and let them get wasted in the back are living in a fantasy world.

      Please note, I am not against getting

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        So driverless Lyft will be for sober passengers only?

        The one who hailed it will be the only person in the car, and the person in charge of where the car goes, and the person of last resort if something goes wrong.

        If that ends up being true, I don't really see a future for driverless tech at all.

        • Drivered taxis already don't let drunk people drive. To avoid liability drunks will need ambulances instead of driverless cars.

          • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

            Are you saying taxis already don't let drunk people ride?

            Why the PSAs about if you're drunk call a cab?

            Or are you saying the passengers of driverless cars will become the driver? I don't think Lyft/Uber would go for that, they want drunk people to be comfortable using the service.

        • So driverless Lyft will be for sober passengers only?

          Or drunk passengers who are sitting in the back seat.

    • by hawk ( 1151 )

      I am a lawyer, but this is not legal advice. If you want legal advice, pay my retainer first.

      State laws vary significantly as to what constitutes DUI (or what DUI is called, for that matter).

      In some states, operation of the vehicle is required, in others "dominion and control" (being in the driver's seat [or even the vehicle] with he keys is sufficient. Nevada and California used to be split on whether the vehicle has to move (although a couple of decades later and not practicing in that area, I forget wh

  • What is it with some Tesla owners thinking the laws of physics and the courts somehow don't apply to them.

    • by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @10:55PM (#55983251)

      They have 120k worth of Prius smug. It's overwhelming.

    • Interesting, I always thought that of Audi owners.
      • The problem is everyone is a douche. No seriously. Audi owners think BMW owners are douches. BWM owners think Audi owners are douches. Ford owners think Chev owners are douches, Chev owners think Ford owners are douches, Renault owners think Peugeot owners are.... shit I just realised how long this post was going to be... *bails*.

    • by f00zbll ( 526151 )

      What is it with some Tesla owners thinking the laws of physics and the courts somehow don't apply to them.

      There's a correlation between a person's "dickhead factor" and their compliance with laws. The bigger the dickhead, the more they think "those laws don't apply to me."

      The correlation between wealth and dickhead factor hasn't been definitely proven, but there seems to be higher level of dickheads in individuals worth several million and lots of "disposal income"

    • What is it with some Tesla owners thinking the laws of physics and the courts somehow don't apply to them.

      What is it with /.ers and faulty generalization?
      (Full disclaimer, no, I'm not a Tesla owner)

    • by kaybee ( 101750 )

      No different than 1% of any population being idiots really.

  • PSA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:25PM (#55982827) Homepage

    Yes, he was passed out and the car wasn't moving. Under California law, that's still drunk driving. A friend of mine had his car conk out just as he left the Bay Bridge. He was able to roll it over to the curb, park it, and call a tow truck. A CHP officer beat the tow truck to the scene, though, and determined my friend had been drinking. Because he was still sitting in the car while he waited for the tow, he was charged with a DUI in a car that was motionless and would not even start if he tried.

    So don't drink and drive, m'kay?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, the the officer determined your friend to be drunk, and the car was his, the car didn't get there on its own. The only assumption would be that he drove it there if there was no one else with him. Even if he wasn't driving at the time.

      Not to mention a bridge like the Bay Bridge probably has multiple surveillance cameras on it, if he really wanted to push that he didn't drive the car there, the cameras would most likely answer that question.

      • Re:PSA (Score:4, Interesting)

        by pots ( 5047349 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:58PM (#55982981)
        The parent's example wasn't a very good one, but there are plenty of examples of people being prosecuted for sitting in a car while drunk in places other than California. (Here's one. [macleans.ca])
        • Re:PSA (Score:5, Interesting)

          by phayes ( 202222 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @10:16PM (#55983053) Homepage

          Way back when the the legal age for drinking was still 18 I used to sleep in my car in the parking lot behind my favorite bar for a few hours rather than attempt driving inebriated. I always tossed my keys under the spare tire in the trunk before entering the car to avoid just this circumstance as a friend got caught sleeping in his car before me and caught a DUI. I got woken up a few times by the neighbourhood cops but not having any keys on me they couldn't accuse me of attempting to drive.

          Folding down the rear seat to crawl into the trunk to grab the keys was better than a DUI...

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        To be fair, the the officer determined your friend to be drunk, and the car was his, the car didn't get there on its own.

        Well of course not. And right past the off-ramp of the Bay Bridge is hardly a rest area.

        What I found amusing is the epilog of the story: My friend managed to plead his DUI down to a reckless driving charge (in a car that wouldn't start).

    • Come on, you have a four digit id.

      You don't have to do this "it happened to my friend" spiel. You can say "it happened to me" and it would be ok.

      • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

        I appreciate the humor, but it doesn't apply as I don't know how to drive.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Drunk person alone with car... not exactly grist for the Sherlock Holmes mill, is it?

      • Drunk person alone with car... not exactly grist for the Sherlock Holmes mill, is it?

        Sure, in theory. But how can they prove that he operated it? What if a sober friend operated it, saw that a tow truck was needed, had an outstanding warrant, and fled to avoid being arrested? However, the case law clearly shows that if you are alone in the car, in any part of the passenger cabin, and you have the keys, you're getting a DUI. I understand the intention of this, but there does need to be common sense involved, too. For instance, if you literally had no choice but to shelter in your car or

    • Re:PSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:53PM (#55982955) Homepage

      "I was driving drunk, but my car broke down, so it doesn't count"?

      I don't even understand what your objection is, aside from taking your friend's side. Cop did the right thing.

    • well your friends car didn't magically teleport itself to the location it broke down, so unless you are claiming he sat on the side of the road drinking while waiting for the tow truck it seems a pretty obvious case of drink driving.
    • PCM2, I find that many of the replies to your comments all assume that you are "defending your friend". I don't get that impression from your comment, I find it to be an observation. You even titled it PSA and did the m'kay thing at the end. I'm not sure what causes miscommunications of this type.

  • ...The cops are super aggressive about DUI. They will actually come to your house if you're suspected of drunk driving and arrest you if they have any proof you were driving with in the past X hours and fail a breathalizer. That proof could definitely include your vehicle still being warm.

    Hell, I've heard cops tell me, if you're drunk and you just go sleep in your car, in a parking lot, you can be arrested for DUI.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday January 22, 2018 @09:56PM (#55982973) Homepage

    "Autopilot saves drunk drivers' life". Assuming he would have driven either way (drunks usually do), if he hadn't had autopilot on when he passed out, the car wouldn't have driven for a few minutes on its own, then pulled slowly to a stop and put the blinkers on. He would just have crashed. Possibly into another car.

    • "Autopilot saves drunk drivers' life". Assuming he would have driven either way (drunks usually do), if he hadn't had autopilot on when he passed out, the car wouldn't have driven for a few minutes on its own, then pulled slowly to a stop and put the blinkers on. He would just have crashed. Possibly into another car.

      Most drunk drivers don't try driving when they're so loaded they literally pass out behind the wheel.

      More likely he only decided to drive because he thought the auto-pilot would compensate for his intoxication enough to stop him from getting pulled over and allow him to drive home drive safely.

      This is one of the big risks with level 2 self-driving cars. The car does so much that people think they can do other things like watch a movie or get loaded behind the wheel. You end up with a car where neither the d

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      So long as he didn't hurt anyone else along the way, I'd be happy with one less drunk driver in the world.

      Chances are that, without pressing the power when he passed out, it would be a bumper-stop, fender-bender or he'd have hit a small solid object rather than hurt anyone.

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @12:58AM (#55983647) Journal

    This defense wouldn't work for a pilot, not even on a long flight where they could be on autopilot for 10 hours and sober up. There is, AFAIK, no mode of transportation where this defense works since you always have to be ready to take over if the automated system disengages. To think that it would work on cars is pretty ridiculous since such systems are far less advanced for that mode of transportation.

  • Anyone that follows the space knows that Google saw the same damn thing and made the right decision. Level 2 and 3 autonomous is dangerous and shouldn't be used. Elon made a tough situation for himself with the stupid hype cycle. Forcing him to release something that is clearly dangerous and as a result making roads less safe. When google saw what people did in their trials, they immediately shut it down and switched focus to full autonomous. What Tesla did is irresponsible because people will abuse it. It
  • They gave somebody a DUI on a horse. I think a horse has a better "autopilot" than a Tesla given that it has a living brain and can navigate the world all by itself...

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky

Working...