No Tickets for Red-Light-Running Johnny Cabs

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When you fail to notice the light is red – and a cop sees you fail to notice it – the cop will probably chase you down and hand you a piece of paper that says you owe the government money. This is done – so the government says – Because Safety. Because it is potentially dangerous to run a red light.

This is true.

It is also true that when a car has no driver it can run a red light with impunity – at least insofar as the “ticket,” as those extortion notes handed to car drivers who fail to notice the light was red.

In San Francisco, California, driverless cars are exempt from traffic tickets of all kinds. They may legally do as they please – and the cops won’t  – because they can’t – do anything about it.

According to a Dec. 30 NBC article, “Driverless cars have been documented running red lights, blocking emergency responders and swerving into construction zones.” Kind of like the Johnny Cab that took Arnold Schwarzenegger for a ride back in the ’80s, in the movie Total Recall.

Maybe it was more like predictive programming.

“I think all of us are still struggling to understand whether [driverless cars] really are safer than human drivers and in what ways they might not be,” says Irina Raicu, the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Italics added.

How about when they disregard the traffic laws we’re obliged to obey – and are punished for disregarding?

Never mind.

“It seems like while they make fewer of the kind of mistakes that we see from human drivers, they make interesting new kinds of mistakes,” Raicu said. “It has the feel of a human subject mass experiment, right? Without the kind of consent that we usually want to see as part of that.”

Italics added.

How about consequences?

Never mind.

“In California, traffic tickets can be written only if there is an actual driver in the car,” the NBC piece explains. “An internal memo from San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, obtained by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, instructs officers that no citation for a moving violation can be issued if the [autonomous vehicle] is being operated in a driverless mode.”

Isn’t it great?

Then there’s this, from the San Francisco Department of Motor Vehicles:

The DMV recognizes that autonomous technology is an evolving technology and remains committed to enhancing the regulatory structure to reflect the continued development of the technology . . . the DMV encourages all interested parties to participate in future workshops and rulemaking processes to help inform and shape the regulations related to the safe operations of autonomous vehicles in California.”

It reads like a Biden Thing press conference about the Great Success in Ukraine, doesn’t it? Not a word devoted to addressing the issue at hand but many evasive words effused to sidetrack the discussion to issues that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Safe operation?

At least one human pedestrian has already been hit by a car sans driver in San Francisco. But the car that did it didn’t even get a ticket – as any of us would have, had we done the same. It seems we are responsible for what we do behind the wheel but when no one’s behind the wheel, no one’s responsible.

Not the regulators who green-lighted the deployment of driverless cars. Not the companies that built and programmed them, such as Cruise and Waymo. This is a fascinating example of government dissonance. One the one hand, the government is obsessively concerned (or so it feigns) with risk-aversion, even to the extent of intolerance for any risk – however hypothetical and irrespective of how much it costs.

But only in certain cases.

Examples are legion but include the obsessive risk-aversion that manifested during the event marketed as a “pandemic,” when people who weren’t sick were presumed to be “asymptomatic spreaders” – as well as the recent crippling fines imposed upon diesel engine manufacturer Cummins on the basis of gnat-burping-in-the-Superdome “emissions” differences in allowable quantities of oxides of nitrogen.

Yet when a cop sees a driver not wearing a seat belt – an act that entails essentially zero risk to anyone else – the cop will chase that driver down and hand him the extortion note styled a “ticket.” If a driver is pecking at his cell phone (including the one built into the dashboard of his car) and for that reason fails to notice the light changing from green to red and runs into someone, he will get more than a ticket.

So why are cars without drivers given the green light – and a pass?

We all know why. It is the same reason why the government doesn’t express much concern about the inherent risk of EVs spontaneously catching fire. The ends justify the means.

And we all know what the ends are.

They want us out of cars. And – failing that – do not want us behind the wheel.  Hence the pass given to battery-powered devices that drive themselves.

. . .

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34 COMMENTS

  1. wait I think i see an opportunity here…. If I get done for going faster than the “speed limit” I can just say the car was on self drive (or something). If that’s the case – Im definitely getting one of those cars with self driving features !!

  2. Jeez, if one of these driverless cars hits, or almost hits, one’s self or a loved one, what’s to stop such a person from standing in front of said vehicle, cursing at and banging at the vehicle with a hard object? Sounds justified to me

  3. I thought red light tickets were sent to the owner of the car, not the person driving it? Doesn’t someone own that driverless car? Send the ticket there.

  4. Apparently the owner is stating that the person was run over by another car before their car arrived. That their car also ran over the body doesn’t seem to matter. Life means very little these days.

  5. Evidence that your robot overlords are above the law.

    If tickets are issued for violations of laws that propagate safety, then tickets should be issued to someone, even robot #6288745. Just like people, if it racks up enough tickets or points, take it off the road.

    But we all know, tickets are really a modern form of general warrant, creating an excuse for the politicians’ henchmen to check you out for further crimes.

    If I cause an accident with death, I stand a good chance of being charged with some form of manslaughter. The robot cars will not. Sure the companies will be sued, but no one will go to jail.

    If corporations are people, but treated differently, is that a 14th amendment violation of equal protection?

  6. So SFO police don’t consider autonomous vehicles running red lights a crime. SFO police don’t consider theft of property less than $5000 a crime. SFO police don’t consider breaking and entering a vehicle a crime. Apparently Paul Pelosi’s “attacker” wasn’t involved in any crime. There’s a movement to decriminalize prostitution (streetwalking) that’s getting strong support in the CA state legislature. SFO has long been extremely tolerant of open drug use in most of the city.

    I guess looking the other way is one way to reduce crime. Too bad they won’t include tax evasion on that list.

  7. Traffic fines, more taxes on driving, banning ice powered vehicles, ending slave mobility…

    this all part of the war on the patriarchy…..

    Who loves driving fast ice sports cars/race cars, big one ton pickup trucks?…men do…

    the war on the patriarchy is job #1 for the nobility slave owning gang….fighting age, non LBGQT men are a huge threat to them ruling prison planet…..

  8. No Tickets for Red-Light-Running Johnny Cabs

    There is no tax slave to rob…makes sense…

    the nobility billionaire slave owner gang own the big corporations….why would they fine themselves…..no laws apply to them anyways…only to slaves….

  9. Happy Perihelion!

    The solution is to have driverless cars with no passengers. You won’t even need traffic police, winning. Be the safest form of traffic, nobody will ever get hurt, any accident will not involve drivers or passengers, nobody will be in the cars.

    There will be no buyers, ever. About how it is now for EVs, close enough. No insurance cost, no car payments, no electricity costs, no gasoline costs. No demand, no supply.

    You will be free at last.

    If you are driving an F-150, there might be a recall for drivetrain issues, parking brake issues, the thing might just apply while driving down the road, doesn’t look all that great for Ford pickup truck 2021 to 2023 year models. A Ford F-150 might just decide to roll away on its own. It is a tough day for F stock.

    Pedestrians will still be in danger. Have to be careful, you might get run over by a driverless car running a red light. Stay away from street traffic that allows driverless vehicles.

    Bicycles will be available on a rental basis, one airline flight ticket per year, one passenger train ticket per year.

    The solution is to have pedestrian traffic concentrated away from highways and driverless vehicles. Somebody has to do something to solve problems, remove the problem, you have a solution.

    You’ll be walking everywhere you go. You’ll need a backpack, good shoes, and a water bottle.

    Breathing and eating are bad for the climate, therefore, crimes, everybody knows that by now.

    Find something better to do other than exist. Problem solved. Look on the bright side, be positive.

    It is National Spaghetti Day today, so you can breathe easy and eat some spaghetti.

    No good deed will go unpunished. You want peace on earth? You can’t have any!

    Mission Accomplished

    • > You’ll need a backpack, good shoes, and a water bottle.
      And a canister respirator to collect your own exhaled CO2 “pollution” for disposal.
      You nasty, bad-for-Mother-Earth carbon based lifeform, you.

  10. “Self driving’ cars allowed to run red lights without penalty because:
    a) Green. “Self Driving” = Green, and Nothing Beats a Green Card.
    (Except maybe an H1-B visa for those “self driving car” programmers.)
    b) Big Tech. “Self driving” is Big Tech. Detroit Iron is Old Tech. Big Tech trumps Old Tech, always (analogy with rock paper scissors).
    c) Personal injury lawyers are a plague upon the Earth. Nobody to sue = no work for ambulance chasers. A plague upon both your houses.
    d) Beats me. I want my MTV.
    I should learned to drive my own car.
    I shoulda learned to turn that wheel.
    Aw, that ain’t drivin’
    That’s the way you do it.
    Drive up on the sidewalk
    Hit pedestrians for free.
    That’s the way you do it.
    Cause collisions for nothin’
    Manslaughter for free.

    We got to install software updates
    Custom programs delivery-ee
    We’ve got to move these collisions somewhere
    Can’t show no bodies on the ev’ning TV.

  11. Eric,

    Perhaps this is mostly a Kommiefornia SNAFU?

    From the NBC article:

    “‘According to the Texas Transportation Code, the owner of a driverless car is ‘considered the operator’ and can be cited for breaking traffic laws ‘regardless of whether the person is physically present in the vehicle.’

    Arizona, another busy site for autonomous vehicles, took similar steps. In revising its traffic laws, Arizona declared the owner of an autonomous vehicle ‘may be issued a traffic citation or other applicable penalty if the vehicle fails to comply with traffic or motor vehicle laws.'”

    On the other hand, if Officer Friendly wants to give the rest of us a break as long as we don’t harm anyone, that would be quite alright as well.

    That ABC journalist appeared to have a delightful time, by the way. “Are you not entertained?!”

  12. The rush to get rid of personal freedom, personal cars, personal guns, personal medical choices, personal free press, are complex and interesting.

    The creatures behind this are evil. They are psychopaths, or demonically possessed, or something similar. But they only amount to 5% or so of the problem.

    Of the remaining 30% or so of the screeching minority pushing this, a lot are brainwashed kids who learned in school that we are killing Mother Earth, that they have no future because their elders and betters squandered it, and that they’re all going to die.

    Then there are the middle third of the population who simply go along to get along, who plug along through life reacting to problems and going around them. When some evil communist judge takes their license because they were driving home slowly from the bar with a half dozen beers under their belt, they simply nod and say yes massa, and sneak around doing what they have to do and avoiding the system in the naive belief that they can just forgive a simple wrong done to them and get on with their life.

    We, the radicals, the freedom fighters, are a minority. But we can always point out some things to the foolish, and to the brainwashed.

    What happens if you get rid of Americas cars? Because the personal car is woven so deeply into our culture it cannot be removed without shattering consequences. What percent of the economy is cars? First there are the manufacturers like Ford, and Toyota with their union workforces. Feeding these are the sub manufacturers like Cummins and AC Delco. Then there are the logistics between the makers and the subs, the truckers and train and ship companies, which also haul product to the dealers with their millions of employees. Then there are the used car dealers, and the parts stores, and the mechanics / techs. Then there are all the parasites, the state DMVs, the traffic cops, the lawyers at every level. Upstream there are miners and oilmen producing the raw materials and natural fuels that go into the cars. Then there are the state fuel taxes and license taxes and property taxes. The personal vehicle goes into every part of our daily lives.

    What happens when you destroy half the industrialized economy in a misguided and wicked attempt to limit personal freedom?

    No need to imagine it, Africa is a wonderful example. The people there have among them the talent to manufacture and market cars. But personal freedom/mobility are always a threat to autocrats. So corruption abounds, and the connected take all the profit/productivity needed to produce a modern abundant economy. The Soviets did the same thing with a different system.

    That was long winded, but in our interactions with others we need to internalize these truths and they need to suffuse our conversations. If you deny others their liberties, or support those who do, it will cost you your own. This is a law of nature and natures god.

    • The creatures behind this are evil. They are psychopaths, or demonically possessed, or something similar………..

      the nobility billionaire slave owners…. controlling prison planet, are satanists…..they consider themselves a different species then the slaves…they come from the ancient nobility pharaoh bloodlines, who said they were born from the sun….they see the slaves as animals…useless eaters….

      The billionaire elite nobility slave owners…..

      When you consider the positioning and branding of the nobility slave owner’s WEF, with their certitude and paternalism, it all makes a lot more sense when viewed as a cult instead of a cabal. Cultists know all…. they have the inside track ……

      techno-utopianism was ultimately a Luciferian construct. …… that the aspiration to “usurp God” was Luciferian in character …..The billionaire elite nobility slave owners…..see themselves as the new gods…. they claim moral authority over us all by Divine Right.

      this a Luciferian construct….so they are evil….but they are satanists so they invert it and say you are evil….

      • the nobility billionaire slave owners…. controlling prison planet, are satanists…..they consider themselves a different species then the slaves…they come from the ancient nobility pharaoh bloodlines, who said they were born from the sun….they see the slaves as animals…useless eaters….

        the nobility do not marry slaves…they hate the slaves….

  13. This is a bit off the topic of the current article, but I think it’s of interest since it affects anyone buying a new car.

    Privacy Not Included
    Cars Are the Worst Product Category We Have Ever Reviewed for Privacy
    https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/articles/its-official-cars-are-the-worst-product-category-we-have-ever-reviewed-for-privacy/

    Excerpt:
    “The car brands we researched are terrible at privacy and security
    Why are cars we researched so bad at privacy? And how did they fall so far below our standards? Let us count the ways!

    1. They collect too much personal data (all of them)
    2. Most (84%) share or sell your data
    3. Most (92%) give drivers little to no control over their personal data
    4. We couldn’t confirm whether any of them meet our Minimum Security Standards

    Some not-so-fun facts about these rankings:
    Tesla is only the second product we have ever reviewed to receive all of our privacy “dings.” (The first was an AI chatbot we reviewed earlier this year.) What set them apart was earning the “untrustworthy AI” ding. The brand’s AI-powered autopilot was reportedly involved in 17 deaths and 736 crashes and is currently the subject of multiple government investigations.
    Nissan earned its second-to-last spot for collecting some of the creepiest categories of data we have ever seen. It’s worth reading the review in full, but you should know it includes your “sexual activity.” Not to be out done, Kia also mentions they can collect information about your “sex life” in their privacy policy. Oh, and six car companies say they can collect your “genetic information” or “genetic characteristics.” Yes, reading car privacy policies is a scary endeavor.
    None of the car brands use language that meets Mozilla’s privacy standard about sharing information with the government or law enforcement, but Hyundai goes above and beyond. In their privacy policy, it says they will comply with “lawful requests, whether formal or informal.” That’s a serious red flag.”

  14. I like to look at the upside of things, on occasion.

    A serial killer gets bolder as the victims pile up. As he gets more kills under his belt, he starts getting more brazen, making mistakes, is eventually identified, and his reign of terror ends.

    I think we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of some major institutions. It’s an exciting time to be alive watching this transition.

  15. Well, that’s interesting. So, an automated ticket can be issued to the “owner of the vehicle” yet WAYMO cannot be issued a ticket if there is no driver. Riiiight. Corporate privilege

  16. “They want us out of cars. And – failing that – do want us behind the wheel.’

    I think you ment “do not” want us behind the whee

    Otherwise another good read Eric!

      • From “The Flop Before it Doesn’t Sell”
        “…You can, of course, charge it at home – but then you’ll be waiting overnight (or all day) and the next day, you still won’t be able to go very fart before its Receptacle Time again…” – eric

        At first, I thunk it was a typo but upon reflection, it’s too true to change – even if you consume vast quantities of legumes!

  17. ‘So why are cars without drivers given the green light – and a pass?’ — eric

    It is more than just the end justifying the means. It is who owns these robo-cars.

    Waymo, for instance, is an autonomous driving technology start-up owned by Evil Google. It is backed by tech billionaires, who can venue shop for jurisdictions which will cater to their every whim.

    Otherwise, these digital nomads fold their tents and move on to greener pastures, as Elon has done in Texas. Elon’s so-called self-driving is another outrageous and dangerous consumer fraud which just last month sidestepped accountability by issuing an OTA update that punishes inattentive drivers by going dark for a week.

    As they say at Gallaudet University … ‘Deaf to the Tech Lords!’ 🙂

    • I just read a review of Teslas recent OTA update/recall in his own Tesla Model Y in CleanTechnica. It was intended to fix self driving issues but failed. The driver while driving on the streets of SF noted that his Tesla engaged its autopilot, did not notice his hands were not putting pressure on the steering wheel, blew through stopsigns and rushed over speed bumps. A review of the owners manual revealed drivers need to purchase the full Self Driving Suite if they want the car to be capable of obeying traffic signs. You cannot make this shit up. Logic has left the building.

  18. Government at any level can choose to grant indemnify to whoever the hell it pleases no matter the effect on the populations (e.g. Pfizer’s clot shot).

    Sense and avoid? Nah, go to hell, tax slave! Sue us? Didn’t we just tell you to go to hell…

    • To a point, maybe. Practically, sure…for now.

      I think that a blanket exemption from liability is a rather serious violation of the 7A. Hasn’t been litigated yet though AFAIK.

    • [Government at any level can choose to grant indemnify to whoever the hell it pleases no matter the effect on the populations (e.g. Pfizer’s clot shot).]

      The Florida Surgeon General has just declared the shots dangerous and possibly deadly…. for those under 65. Apparently okay to kill off anyone above this age.

      As almost 80% of the elderly were the victims of this shot during the plandemic of the fake virus one might wonder at the logic of this. Something dangerous for the young is usually also be dangerous for the elderly. Gee,,, Wonder who would benefit killing off the elderly???

      Where does government derive its authority to indemnify anyone against any dangerous product?

      • killing off the elderly

        High on the nobility slave owner’s to do list is getting rid of old and non productive slaves…..

        the homeless too…some of them won’t work….let them die on the street….give them free drugs or MAID to speed it up…

  19. Without a driver in the car, there is no one for the heroes and The Gecko/Flo/Emu/etc. to mulct. Contrary to the fantasy stories in the press, AI is not about to generate real wealth.

    By the way, our new would be cybernetic overlords aren’t exactly “green”. They will eventually need us out of EVs to power the AI hardware to keep playing the monkey trick.

    Go look at the power consumption stats on an Nvidia 8 GPU H100 board.

    • It’s almost as if literally everything has some kind of cost associated with the opportunity.

      But those are just pesky details, I’m sure they are not important. We’ll work that out later when we release the bug fix.

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