Dutch judge: ‘not Tesla’s Autopilot but human is actual driver’
“Not the Tesla’s Autopilot, but the human sitting behind the steering wheel deciding where the car should go and ready to intervene in emergencies, is the actual driver.” That’s the verdict of the Dutch judge in Utrecht in the case of Vincent Everts, who thinks he’s allowed to use his smartphone to work while on Autopilot in his Tesla S on the highway.
In Holland, simply holding a smartphone in the hand is forbidden for drivers. So, Everts will have to pay the two fines he got last year when he was spotted by the police holding his phone while driving on the A2.
Intervene at any moment
The judge pointed at a quote on Tesla’s website, saying “when using the Autopilot, the driver always has to be observant and ready to intervene at any moment”.
On top of that, Everts declared himself that he is required by the car to touch the steering wheel on a regular base to avoid the Autopilot to switch itself off after three warnings. The driver also has to use the direction indicators to tell the car whether it has to go left or right.
Evert’s lawyer, Axel Mille, couldn’t convince the judge in the summary proceedings of the argument that a driver using the Autopilot is like a ‘driving instructor’, sitting aside the apprentice driver and is allowed to use his smartphone.
‘Needle’ the judge
Everts himself is realistic enough to know he can’t have the law changed overnight, he told the reporter of Dutch internet tv channel powned.tv, earlier. He said he wanted to ‘needle’ the judge to make a statement to get things changed in the future.
After that, he would be “willing to pay the fines with great pleasure”. A statement he got from the judge, but not the one he hoped for. So, paying the fines will be with somewhat less pleasure.