In the current age of technology, self-driving cars are making their way into auto shops everywhere. With self-driving vehicles becoming a reality in the close future, a few questions arise. Will people be able to legally rely on their cars to drive them home while intoxicated, or does that still count as “Driving Under the Influence (DUI)”? Can self-driving cars become another safe way for people to get home after a night of drinking?

The answer lies with the question of whether the person in the vehicle is considered the driver or the passenger? While there is an automated driving system installed in the car, it’s still the driver’s responsibility for being aware of the surrounding areas.

What exactly is a self-driving car?

A self-driving car is a vehicle that can sense its surrounding environment and drive with little human input. Currently, there are not any self-driving vehicles on the market that can drive itself without some form of human input. However, companies like Tesla, Lexus, Cadillac, Volvo, Nissan and Toyota have come very close, and plan to have independent self-driving vehicles in the near future.

Driving while “driving”

The person in a self-driving car is technically not completely in control of the vehicle, but is that enough to evade a DUI? If a person is pulled over by the police while intoxicated, they have to prove that the car was in fact driving itself. But this is often very hard to prove that you were not driving while in the vehicle.

In the market right now, self-driving cars still need some human interaction. Therefore, you can still get a DUI while riding in a self-driving car.

While self-driving cars may develop to be independently functional, it’s impossible to let a self-driving car completely on its own as of now. Because of this, a person in the vehicle is still at risk of receiving a DUI charge.