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Should Drinking and Driving in Self-Driving Cars Be Legal?

Since folks in Australia are bringing it up, what do you think about drinking and driving in self-driving cars?

One of the major tech advances coming in the auto industry is the self-driving car. Once a pipe dream, the self-driving car is going to become a reality, and with it, numerous questions are going to need answers.

One of these questions asks “Should a passenger should be able to drink in the car?”

For me, this answer is simple…”yes.”

So why should drinking be legal in a self-driving car? It is a question being dealt with by financial analysts and government officials.

According to research, the onset of self-driving cars on American roads is expected to cut driving related injuries and deaths by quite a margin. Furthermore, in a world of only self-driving cars on the roads, drink-driving related deaths would virtually be non-existent…unless of course, the AI could drink.

Now if we are talking about self-driving cars which would allow the “passenger” to take the wheel, then the law against drinking and driving should remain in place. But that is not what we are talking about. In a car totally under control of the computer, there is no-reason to think drinking in the car should be illegal.

I cannot even see how the terms “drinking and driving” or “drink-driving” would even be applicable, considering the “passenger” is not a “driver.”

You can drink in a limo, right?!

Personally, I think of the opportunities of drinking in a self-driving car. I think about what drinking is all about. Drinking usually involves personal communication and community building, it is generally thought of as a relaxation event.

So let’s imagine drinking in a self-driving car. The car could become a relaxation point, where people have more time for personal communication with friends and family. It could be a space of building new relationships over a beer or whiskey.

Waymo Self-Driving Car

Drinking and driving in America has cost numerous lives and livelihoods, there is no-doubt it is a plague of devastation. There’s nothing to laugh about here, and I’m not trying to be funny at people’s expense.

But with the “driver” removed, a self-driving car could become a space of social drinking and relationship building. Whether or not you’re a proponent of coming self-driving car is irrelevant as it is coming. Why not raise a beer on your way home from work?

Maybe people will drink before work and it will affect their work and livelihood. Maybe overall alcohol consumption in America will increase, due to the absence of risk which once reigned in the back of a person’s mind before going out to drink. But, drinking responsibly or abstaining before work is a decision best left to the person’s free choice.

In a free society it is up to them to not act recklessly when deciding when and how much to drink. America’s laws protecting freedoms should protect those freedoms, it is the cornerstone of our free society.

In the future we can toast to this in our self-driving car.

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