Could Self-Driving Cars Prevent Drunk Driving?

New technology continues to develop daily, often at such a rapid pace that it can be difficult to keep up with. Concepts that were once thought to be unattainable futuristic ideas are now commonplace. As designers and manufacturers continue to push the limits of new technology, the automobile industry is no exception. Self-driving cars are quickly becoming a possibility and may be commonplace in the near future. Recently, The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that Governor Hickenlooper signed S.B. 213 into law, which will allow for self-driving cars on Colorado roads. That could mean a decrease in drunk driving and related accidents.

Potential Benefits

A study cited in the article indicated that self-driving cars could be responsible for up to 95% of all miles driven in the United States by the year 2030. The same study indicated that this could ultimately save American families about $5,600 per year. Additionally, one of the senators that sponsored the bill noted that 605 people died on Colorado roads last year, 90% of them due to human error. It is the hope of developers and proponents of this new technology that it will help make driving safer. One of the potential ways it could make driving safer is by taking control of driving as part of its function, limiting the ability of drunk drivers to get behind the wheel. If self-driving cars take over a large portion of driving functionality, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs will likely still be illegal but an individual’s reaction time while operating a vehicle would not be as large of a factor if a vehicle was able to drive itself.

Potential Downsides

Critics point out that this technology is still too new to be trusted. It has not been around long enough to understand whether or not it is a reliable option compared to humans operating a vehicle. Basically, the new law says that the state will determine whether or not such vehicles can be driven in the state. Ultimately, if they comply with state and federal safety regulations then they will be eligible to be driven in Colorado.

However, the bill also restricts testing of these self-driving vehicles to individuals who receive permission to do so from the Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation. Critics have raised valid objections to the safety of these vehicles, but it is important to remember that these futuristic cars are not quite ready to be produced en masse. Only time will tell if the concerns expressed over the future of these vehicles and their place in Colorado communities are well-founded.

Legal Assistance with DUIs and Related Charges

Facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can be intimidating. However, working with a Colorado criminal defense attorney who has worked with numerous clients facing similar charges can be an important step in the process. Contact the criminal defense legal team at Tiftickjian Law Firm to schedule a consultation to find out more about the charges against you and what options might be available in your defense.

(image courtesy of Jeffrey Wegrzyn)