Mon. Oct 2nd, 2023

“Had an officer noticed the driving force with the cellphone of their hand, they might have issued the driving force an infraction ticket for violating California’s handsfree regulation,” writes Palo Alto PD Captain James Reifschneider.

“As no officer witnessed it taking place in particular person on the time of prevalence, although, no ticket is forthcoming,” he advised me through e mail.

Musk’s livestream selfie. Picture: Elon Musk

Let me be clear: I’m fairly positive Palo Alto Police have higher issues to do than chase down the world’s richest man for a $20 high-quality. (That’s the one punishment for a primary offense — you will get a degree towards your driving file for a second offense, however provided that it occurs inside three years of the primary violation.)

However Musk has been recognized to repeatedly flout the regulation — see my linkbox — and a few are starting to query his energy. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ronan Farrow lately printed “Elon Musk’s Shadow Rule” at The New Yorker, a bit of reporting that exhibits, amongst different issues, how SpaceX’s Starlink satellites grew to become so vital to the conflict in Ukraine that the US authorities was compelled to deal with him with child gloves.

“He’s extra like a nation-state than a person when it comes to the implications of his energy,” Farrow advised Contemporary Air.

As my colleague Andrew Hawkins factors out, the US authorities could also be about to make a significant resolution concerning Musk — whether or not or to not pressure a recall of Tesla’s autopilot software program following the NHTSA investigation into over a dozen crashes the place Autopilot automobiles hit stationary emergency automobiles.

Reifschneider, the police captain, says that there are sensible explanation why the division doesn’t ticket with out personally observing a driver — they want to have the ability to inform a decide what they noticed, confirm the driving force’s id and driver’s license, and acquire a license plate or VIN quantity for the car to help the quotation.

“The officer must be ready to testify in court docket about what they personally noticed (particularly, that they noticed the cellphone within the driver’s hand),” he writes.

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