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Self-Driving Cars and Drunk Driving


There has been a lot of buzz about self-driving cars on the news lately. Cars already exist that have an auto-pilot feature where the driver can rely more on the vehicle to handle where it’s going. There are also ride-share services using self-driving cars making headlines. One thing that you may not be considering is self-driving cars and drunk driving. There are some powerful allies when it comes to getting this technology out on the roadways. Several experts believe that real self-driving vehicles where a person can sit back without having to do anything but tell the car the destination could have a positive impact on reducing drunk driving.

How Do Self-Driving Cars Work?

Self-driving cars are a modern marvel that may change the face of transportation in the future. A truly self-driving car is one that can get from point A to point B without needing any human assistance. It has to have a GPS unit to keep it on track, sensors that pick up on the environment surrounding the vehicle, and an inertial navigation system. The car needs to be able to know where it’s going and navigate around any issues in the roadway. It is important that it is ready to stop before hitting people, cars, and items on the road before it can be put to use.   

Self-driving Cars and Drunk Driving

Drunk driving rates have been declining over time as awareness is growing. More people are using alternatives to driving themselves home after a night of indulgence thanks to designated driver programs, extending public transit availability, ride-sharing companies, and programs offering free taxi services on big drinking holidays. Regardless, about 28 people die every day in alcohol-related crashes according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 28 too many, and the liquor industry knows it.  Rural areas that don’t have the same opportunities for help with driving buzzed driving and other factors contribute to some people continuing to get behind the wheel after drinking.

Enter self-driving cars. Experts believe that there’s evidence that vehicles that don’t require any input from the driver will be useful in reducing drunk driving. In extension, self-driving cars will reduce the number of people killed in drink-driving accidents. As of now, most self-driving cars on the market require the human inside of the vehicle to be involved in the driving process. This feature is why one man was charged with a DUI while using his Tesla on autopilot.

Why Does the Liquor Industry Support It?

The liquor industry embraces the thought of combining self-driving cars and drunk driving. It’s a complete win for the industry. People will feel more comfortable to drink as much as they’d like without having to worry about how they are going to get home. A self-driving car allows them to get back safely without putting anyone at risk once the technology has been perfected. The reduction of drunk driving problems and the increase of sales will be a boon. In fact, experts believe that this could increase liquor sales by 250 billion dollars. They estimate a person will typically drink about two more drinks a night. That’s a considerable incentive for alcohol producers to want this technology to succeed.

Another area that makes the liquor industry a supporter of self-driving technology is getting people out of their homes. Many people have opted for drinking at home rather than hitting the bar or club scene. This can result in new sales in addition to higher margins thanks to the difference in price between picking up a six-pack at the store and drinking at a restaurant or bar.

The liquor industry is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to self-driving technology. Anheuser-Busch had the first commercial shipment of beer delivered by self-driving truck back in 2016. Now, they have ordered their own Tesla semi-trucks.

The liquor companies aren’t the only ones that believe that this technology could be beneficial for society. Nonprofits involved in the industry, like the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, also support this advancing technology. Some of the larger well-known producers that are seeking to reduce drunk driving, back this non-profit. 

Self-Driving Cars and Drunk Driving: The Future

The correlation between self-driving cars and drunk driving being reduced is an exciting one that shouldn’t just make the liquor industry happy. While self-driving cars have a long way to go before they’re on the streets, the potential they offer is exciting.

If you find yourself accused of driving under the influence, it’s essential to contact a professional to protect your rights. DUI charges can be severe and have long-lasting impacts on your life. Contact S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. today to discuss your situation. You have the right to the best defense possible in these circumstances.

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