Ticketing Self-Driving Cars

San Francisco police had to figure out whom to ticket in a driverless car. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Comical video first posted online last week shows befuddled police officers trying to figure out whom to ticket when they pulled over a driverless car from the company Cruise, which lets San Francisco residents hail rides in autonomous vehicles. When driverless cars are in an accident, the owner is held liable. But who gets a ticket if there’s no driver? 

The situation first arose in 2015, when police pulled over a self-driving Google vehicle for driving too slowly, and Google paid. The Cruise car was pulled over for malfunctioning headlights which Cruise has since fixed. There are laws about driverless liability currently being debated, including one in Pennsylvania right now, but so far there are no laws on who gets a traffic ticket, presumably because cars can be programmed to abide by all traffic laws. It’s too bad you can’t program humans to do that.

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