Judge predicts driverless cars will cut into DUI arrests within a decade

During a recess in a vehicular assault trial, York County Judge John S. Kennedy and attorneys from the trial recently discussed the status of DUI arrests, prosecutions and convictions. 

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Kennedy presides over the county’s DUI court. DUIs typically account for a third of the county’s total cases, which last year topped 9,225 cases. 

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The judge predicted that in 10 years, DUIs will be a rare arrest case.

He said several companies have made big strides in driverless cars. 

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He said he expects the government to make driverless cars mandatory in the interest of public and traffic safety, such as it did for seat belts and airbags. 

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He said the basics, as he knows of them, is that a driverless car, which as of September 2012 are legal in California, Nevada and Florida, requires that a licensed driver be behind the wheel and that the driver take complete control of the vehicle in work zones. 

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I asked if a driver who was inebriated could still be arrested for DUI if he is in a car that is driving itself. 

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“I suppose that could happen,” he said. “But what would be the probable cause for pulling over the vehicle?”

About Rick Lee

Rick Lee is a veteran courthouse reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Contact him at rlee@ydr.com or call 495-1782.
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