Few people these days would dispute the idea that fully autonomous vehicles are in our future, probably sooner than we think. Many of our cars are already parking for us, many are equipped to brake automatically to avoid collisions, and many self-driving prototypes are already in development. But what will these advancements do to our current DUI laws? Will our cars truly be so autonomous that intoxicated drivers will be able to use them as taxis? Will DUI laws become obsolete?
Not so fast.
At the annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which took place in Louisville, KY in September, autonomous vehicles dominated the conversation, particularly in the context of open container laws. “Autonomous vehicles can be a designated driver,” said Russ Martin, director of government relations for the GHSA in comments after the meeting. “But at a certain point the law is going to have to draw a line somewhere as when it’s safe to do so…Right now, in most states it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol while you’re driving…What about open container laws? Do they need to be modified or qualified, depending on the level of automation?”