BUSTED! A Google autonomous Prius test driver tests out just how much you can kick back behind the wheel.
updated 12/1/2010 4:05:57 PM ET 2010-12-01T21:05:57

Although California bans hand-held cell phone use by drivers, and testers of Google self-driving vehicles are legally considered to be "drivers," one Google engineer is still illegally and dangerously reaching out to touch somebody.

We'd note that this photo was snapped — by a Jalopnik reader on his commute — near Google HQ in Mountain View, Calif. We'd also note that the testers in the Google vehicles are legally considered "drivers" if they're not actually driving. The California Bureau of Motor Vehicles told us they considered autonomous driving software to be akin to "cruise control." If that's the case, then the same rules apply to drivers of self-driving Google cars as they do to drivers of regular old two-hands-to-the-wheel cars.

So here's to you, Google autonomous Prius test driver, for testing out just how much you can kick back behind the wheel. If your hands don't have to do the driving, why not let your fingers do the talking, right? Of course it's all fun and games until somebody's autonomous self-driving car rams a barrier and heads directly into oncoming traffic while the driver's talking to his mom.

(Hat tip to f263U!)

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