Elon Musk won’t be issued a ticket over Tesla FSD V12 livestream: Palo Alto PD

Credit: Elon Musk/X

Considering Elon Musk’s divisive online presence, it was no surprise that critics were up in arms following the CEO’s Tesla FSD V12 livestream. Apart from skeptics arguing that FSD is unsafe, others noted that during his drive, Musk was using his mobile phone while sitting in the driver’s seat. This, as critics pointed out, was illegal under California law

Granted, the fine for such an infraction is a mere $20 for the first offense, but for some Musk critics, it is a matter of principle. Motorists, after all, should be treated under the same rules, even if the person behind the wheel was the CEO of the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap. 

But as per the Palo Alto Police Department, Musk would not be fined for using his mobile phone during his FSD V12 livestream. In a comment to The Verge, which appears to have reached out to the Palo Alto PD about the matter, Palo Alto PD Captain James Reifschneider noted that Musk would not be penalized because no officer saw him using his phone while using FSD V12. 

“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. As no officer witnessed it happening in person at the time of occurrence, though, no ticket is forthcoming,” Reifschneider noted. 

The police captain reportedly noted that there are also practical reasons why the Palo Alto PD does not issue tickets without an officer’s personal observation of a driver. Officers must be able to tell a judge what they saw, verify the drivers identity and license, and collect a license plate for VIN to support the citation. 

“The officer needs to be prepared to testify in court about what they personally observed (namely, that they saw the phone in the driver’s hand),” the Palo Alto PD captain noted. 

Musk’s FSD V12 demonstration was quite impressive, partly due to the fact that the system behaved mostly like a fairly competent human driver. During the livestream, Musk remarked that the drive is notably smooth. The CEO only had to intervene once, when FSD V12 was about to run a red light at a busy intersection. The intervention showed, if any, that Musk was alert and ready to take over the controls of the Tesla, even if he was livestreaming at the time. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us with news tips. Just send a message to to give us a heads-up. 

Elon Musk won’t be issued a ticket over Tesla FSD V12 livestream: Palo Alto PD
To Top