Will Self-Driving Cars Affect DUIs in Georgia?

Vehicle operation technology is rapidly advancing. But it will likely take years for the legal system in Georgia to catch up. One of the greatest advancements in vehicle safety has been in driver-assisted safety features. And technology is now moving toward fully autonomous vehicles. So, how will DUI laws change as this technology advances?


Vehicle Autonomy Matters

First, the level of autonomy will matter. There is a ranking system that rates the amount of autonomy a vehicle has. 

  • Level 0 is full driver control of the vehicle.
  • Level 1 has driver assistance and crash prevention. 
  • Level 2 offers some driver automation but still requires a driver. 
  • Level 3 is almost completely automated but needs driver backup.
  • Level 4 is autonomous but with the option for the driver to take over if they want. 
  • Level 5 is fully automated with no option for human intervention.


The most advanced cars on the road right now are Level 2. Examples of these vehicles are Tesla Autopilot and GM Super Cruise. At this level, a human still has a lot of responsibility for controlling the vehicle. So, a driver of a Level 2 vehicle can still get a DUI.


Level 4 Speculation

We can speculate that laws will get muddy when Level 4 vehicles are legally usable on public roads. That is because these vehicles could be completely driven without a human. So, a person under the influence of a substance could potentially allow the vehicle to safely navigate the “driver” home. 


But, right now a person can still get a DUI if they are in the driver’s seat of a parked car. Will that same line of thought be used for these vehicles? That a person under the influence could still potentially operate the vehicle? This debate will likely take some time to sort out. Level 5 vehicles will also increase the debate, since a person has no control over the vehicle operation. 


Don’t Take Chances

One thing is for sure, if you are pulled over in a Level 2 vehicle in Georgia, you can still get a DUI. With these driver assist options, you might feel safer, but you are still required to operate under current Georgia traffic laws.