Tesla drivers are punishable: German court unsettles electric car owners

Image source: GIGA

A smartphone on four wheels – that’s how Tesla’s electric cars are often described with a wink. And that’s exactly what a case before the Higher Regional Court in Karlsruhe was about. Every Tesla driver should know the verdict.


Tesla touchscreen: driving license loss and points threaten

It’s raining. In the cockpit of his Tesla, a driver wants to adjust the wiper interval to the weather by navigating to a submenu. When trying to adjust the setting, he drives off the road in his electric car and has an accident in a tree. At the district court in Karlsruhe, the driver was fined 200 euros for this and was banned from driving for a month. The higher regional court has now confirmed the judgment.

Specifically, this means that the touchscreen, which replaces classic controls and buttons in the Tesla cockpit, is considered by the court to be an electronic device within the meaning of Section 23 of the Road Traffic Act. Among other things, it states that devices such as mobile phones and touch-sensitive screens may only be used if you do not hold them in your hand and only look at them for a short time. Longer interactions are not allowed. However, this is necessary to set the windshield wiper interval – and other vehicle functions – on a Tesla. No matter, the court says.

Playing in the Testa – of course an absolute no-go in traffic:

No exception for the Tesla screen

The fact that the touchscreen in Tesla vehicles is the only way to control central functions of the vehicle was obviously not relevant for the court. The reason: In ยง 23 of the StVO only “touch screens” are named – without a reference to what they are intended for. This means that the Tesla screen is equated with smartphones and other electronic devices in accordance with the law, explains the portal golem.de.

A quick look at the touchscreen in the Tesla and a quick adjustment is also allowed in the sense of the Road Traffic Regulations. But who changes settings in submenus while driving, is punishable. Tesla itself should make the corresponding menu items more accessible. However, the successful carmaker, who recently started a new leasing program, does not have to do so due to the judgment.

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