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HomeTechPolice won’t fine Elon Musk for illegally livestreaming while driving

Police won’t fine Elon Musk for illegally livestreaming while driving


“If an officer had observed the driver with the phone in hand, they could have issued a ticket for violating California’s hands-free law,” writes Palo Alto Police Capt. James Reifschneider.

“However, as no officer witnessed what happened in person at the time it occurred, no ticket was received,” he told me via email.

Musk’s live selfie.
Image: Elon Musk

Let me be clear: I’m pretty sure the Palo Alto police have better things to do than go after the richest man in the world for a $20 fine. (That’s the only penalty for a first offense; you can get a point on your driving record for a second offense, but only if it occurs within three years of the first offense.)

But Musk has been known to repeatedly break the law (see my link box) and some are beginning to question his power. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow recently published “Elon Musk’s Shadow Rule” in the new yorkera report that shows, among other things, how SpaceX’s Starlink satellites became so important to the war in Ukraine that the US government was forced to treat it with kid gloves.

“It looks more like a nation-state than an individual in terms of the implications of its power.” Farrow said Fresh air.

As my colleague Andrew Hawkins points out, the US government may be about to make an important decision regarding Musk: whether or not to force a recall of Tesla’s Autopilot software following NHTSA’s investigation into more than one dozen accidents in which autopilot cars collided with stopped emergency vehicles.

Reifschneider, the police captain, says there are practical reasons the department doesn’t ticket without personally observing the driver: They need to be able to tell the judge what they saw, verify the driver’s identity and license, and pick up a license. license plate or vehicle VIN number to support the citation.

“The officer should be prepared to testify in court about what he personally observed (ie, saw the phone in the driver’s hand),” he writes.

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