National Transport Commission, Australia recommends that fully autonomous vehicles (no human intervention at any point) to be exempt from the DUI Laws
Wouldn’t it be just great for some people to be able to drink and then drive in their own vehicles home instead of the task of hailing a taxi or hitchhiking with a friend? Well, the good news is that one could do that!! But not just yet and not at all in your current, normal, human-driven cars!
The National Transport Commission of Australia published a report that recommends to exclude the drivers of autonomous vehicles from the Drinking and driving under influence of alcohol and drugs laws. So this means if you are inebriated and have a self-driving car to drive then you can still use your own car.
The situation is analogous to a person instructing a taxi driver where to go,” the NTC report states.
“One potential barrier to receiving the full benefits of automated vehicles would be to require occupants of automated vehicles, who are not driving, to comply with drink-driving laws,” argues the report. “This would create a barrier to using a vehicle to safely drive home after drinking.”
Even though the news is very exciting, the devil is in the details!. The report talks about fully autonomous cars that do not provide the driver an option of taking over the vehicle. This means only fully autonomous cars and their drivers would be exempt from the drink and drive rule which never present with a possibility of a human driving the vehicle.
But the level of autonomy current cars provide are no nowhere near the fully autonomous level and require a human to intervene at one point or another. It would be dangerous if a person would want to drive his semi-autonomous car, which allows him to take over driving as per his will, in an inebriated condition. Hence, the report states that the DUI rules remain intact for semi-autonomous vehicles. This means we would have to wait for the SAE Level 5 fully autonomous cars to drink and drive.
The National Transport Commission is an independent legal team that is responsible for setting up transportation laws suited for the autonomous future, which the Australians believe could be as early as 2020.
The commission is bombarded with many issues concerning the fully autonomous vehicle scenario like who would be responsible if a fully autonomous car suffers a breakdown and is the cause of an accident? And to what extent would the person inside the auto-car be held responsible for the accident? And whatever the traditional meaning of “driver” and “drive” apply to autonomous cars in the same meaning.
The present laws in action assume that the person in the driving seat of the car is responsible for any kind of mishap but the NTC suggests that when a fully autonomous car is in the picture, then the person in the driver’s seat should not be held responsible.
“To hold the human responsible may restrict the introduction of automated vehicles into Australia and unnecessarily deny or delay the many potential benefits of the technology,” the NTC argues.
The NTC is set to put forth these recommendations and reforms in the 2018 Commonwealth meeting for transport and infrastructure.
Looks like it will not be long before you LEGALLY sip your chilled brews behind the wheel of your car. Correction, fully autonomous car!