He's totally going to get away with this, isn't he?

Breaking the Law

In spite of flagrantly breaking state law, Elon Musk won't be fined by local police for his live-streamed self-driving stunt.

The captain of the Palo Alto Police Department told The Verge that because none of his officers personally witnessed the incident — which involved Musk not only filming himself while operating a Tesla in a new version of so-called full self-driving (FSD) mode, but also having to take back control of the car when it was about to careen through a red light — the agency would not be issuing a citation or fine.

"Had an officer observed the driver with the phone in their hand, they could have issued the driver an infraction ticket for violating California’s handsfree law," Palo Alto PD Captain James Reifschneider told The Verge via email. "As no officer witnessed it happening in person at the time of occurrence, though, no ticket is forthcoming."

Legal Precedent

It would be one thing if any version of Tesla's FSD actually worked the way it's intended. But given that Musk literally had to intervene to stop it from plowing through a red light — which would have constituted yet another traffic violation — it's safe to argue that he should have had both hands on the wheel and been paying better attention.

This is, of course, neither the first law Musk has broken nor the most serious by any means — the man's been accused of everything from violating labor law to that whole SEC fiasco — but in this case, the world's richest man could actually have put himself or others in immediate danger due to his distracted driving, which one would think the Palo Alto PD would care about.

We've reached out to PAPD about whether it would be considered a separate ticket-worthy offense to nearly run a red light while driving distracted, as Musk filmed himself doing red-handed, but have not yet heard back.

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