How will Self-Driving Cars Affect Drunk Driving Laws?


One of the most common causes of car accidents is drunk driving. In the case of self-driving cars, is it possible for the driver to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI)? Much of a case depends on the level of autonomy.

It is important that all drivers know the differences between the levels of autonomy:

  • Level 0: This represents vehicles with total driver control.
  • Level 1: At level 1, there are minimal forms of driver assistance, such as cruise control.
  • Level 2: This is when the driver is partially helping, but they will still need to stay alert in the case they need to take over.
  • Level 3: At this stage, the car is almost fully in control of driving, but the motorist will need to assist if something happens.
  • Level 4: A car at this level is almost completely autonomous.
  • Level 5: This is when the vehicle is fully automated and involves no human guidance at all.

Currently, Levels 2 and 3 of autonomy will be subject to the standard DUI laws due to the fact that the driver must be equipped to begin driving at any point in time.

When it comes to Level 4, it will much more difficult to prove that the driver was actually driving or in control of the car while under the influence. If police enforcement can prove that the driver was in control of the car, then the motorist could incur a DUI charge.

At Level 5, it is relatively straightforward because human interaction would not be involved at this level, thus making it very difficult to prove that any intentional driving was taking place. At that point, it is very similar to a group of people drinking in the back seat of a limousine.

What Should I Do if I Have a DUI Charge?

As of now, lawmakers will have to adapt to new driving technology. Additionally, each drunk driving case involving a partial or fully automated vehicle will be unique.

It is important to speak to a lawyer after receiving any DUI charge. A DUI charge can have severe penalties, and the offender should know their legal options and rights. A lawyer can help build the best possible defense.

South Jersey DUI Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Clients Navigate New DUI Laws

Drunk driving laws will have to adapt to partial and fully automated cars. If you need help with a DUI charge and want to know your options, speak to a South Jersey DUI lawyer at Agre & St. John. Call us at 856-454-8674 or contact us online for a confidential, initial consultation. We are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.

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