Self-driving cars are not just futuristic fairy tales. With companies like Waymo, GM Cruise, and Argo AI already testing hundreds of their fully automated vehicles, it is safe to say that our current way of transportation is ready for a complete overhaul.
Does that mean people under the influence of alcohol can be allowed to drive? We decided to delve deeper into the possible driving laws of the future. Including how these cars might change the way we use our day-to-day transportation.
How Can Fully Automated Vehicles Affect Drinking Laws?
Out of all traffic-related deaths in the U.S., 28% are from drunk driving accidents, stated the CDC. In fact, it is such a widespread problem that each day, exactly 29 people lose their lives in a car crash because of an alcohol-impaired driver.
That’s where self-driving vehicles come into play. With such machines, people eliminate the chance for a DUI accident. The whole purpose of these vehicles is to improve road safety and help passengers and pedestrians get home in one piece. This is an excellent topic to talk about in a college essay for self-driving vehicles. If you are looking for inspiration, you can talk about the impact these cars can have on our way of life and national transport.
The reason for that is relatively simple. People don’t have to manually operate the vehicle. That’s why some belief easing the driving restrictions for robot car owners might be the best approach for better road safety. The question is, can you sit behind the wheel drunk?
Will Drivers Be Permitted to Drive a Self-Driving Car Under the Influence?
Robot cars come at different levels. For example, there is a semi-autonomous option, where a person will have to operate the vehicle from time to time. And a fully-autonomous one, which can drive by itself.
Experts estimate people will get fully-autonomous cars as soon as 2027.
According to the Guardian, the National Transport Commission has suggested that drivers who own a robot car be exempt from the drink and driving laws. This Australian regulatory body highly believes that drinking limits for a driverless car are completely unnecessary, particularly if the vehicle has a full-autopilot mode.
Since a human won’t be the one behind the wheel, the risk of alcohol-induced accidents drastically decreases. In fact, experts believe encouraging people to use automated vehicles increases their odds of getting home safe.
Because there is no one driving it, the car doesn’t pose a threat to public safety. Therefore it doesn’t matter if the person sitting behind the wheel is drunk or completely sober.
But, there is more to these vehicles than it meets the eye. CNBC experts believe autonomous cars can be a valuable asset to the alcohol industry. Sharing these vehicles might help expand the market of alcoholic beverages, and reduce the risk of death from drunken driving, explained Adam Jones, an expert analyst.
Also, people who are drunk won’t feel that tempted to get behind the wheel when the car can drive them by itself. This is the kind of approach that can save millions.
Other governments, however, are not so keen on the idea. They believe that semi-autonomous vehicles will still need a fully-focused driver to operate them, especially in case of an emergency. So, easing the laws on cars such as these might be an impossible goal.
Semi-Autonomous Cars & Drinking and Driving
The current laws indicate that a driver is completely responsible for the way they operate the vehicle and are not allowed to be under the influence when driving. There is a high possibility that semi-autonomous car drivers will have similar responsibilities.
Though they may not be completely in charge of driving the car, they will still need to be fully engaged and active while the car operates. Drivers might have to take the wheel in case of an emergency.
These cars can park by themselves, respond to the road, get from one destination to the other. But, sometimes, they won’t be able to react quickly enough under unpredictable circumstances.
That’s where the driver will have to operate the car immediately. A quick reaction can help get the car out of a sticky situation.
Since it’s almost impossible to predict how every other car or pedestrian will react on the streets, it is essential to have a driver who will maneuver the car to avoid an accident. This kind of responsibility will most likely influence future driving laws.
People might have to stay fully focused so they will have the time to react fast enough. Simply put, there is a high possibility of driving laws for semi-robot cars might get a little loose, but not too easy.
Safety will be a top priority, and controlling every aspect of driving will be a vital focus for all the governments across the globe.
Of course, it is too early to tell how the rest of the countries will react to these autonomous cars. Whether they are going to implement similar policies or even stricter rules highly depends on each country. But, it is safe to say that these cars have the potential to completely change the way we view the alcohol driving policy.
It’s difficult to say for sure how autonomous vehicles will change drinking laws. Many governments have yet to express their concerns or suggest reforms. The Australian independent regulatory body believes changing the laws may not be such a bad idea.
Not just out of practicality, but for inspiring drivers to let the robot car drive them home when they are under the influence. That way, drunk drivers won’t be tempted to operate a vehicle and put someone else in danger. As the tech is still far off, the debate continues.