Drunk, Sleeping Tesla Driver Reportedly Using Autopilot Pulled Over
CHP is saying that although extremely dangerous and illegal, the Tesla autopilot feature may have saved this man’s life. Authorities say Alexander Samek, was sleeping behind the wheel of his Tesla when he was pulled over on Highway 101 for DUI.
The California Highway Patrol officers spotted the Tesla Model S cruising along at around 70MPH with what appeared to be a dozing driver behind the wheel. After following the vehicle for several miles trying to get him to respond to lights and sirens, the officers guessed that the Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot driver assist system was engaged and pulled in front of it to start slowing it down.
The two vehicles safely came to a complete stop in the middle of the highway and with some difficulty, police were able to wake up the driver and drive him and the Tesla to a nearby gas station where he failed a field sobriety test. Samek was booked on a DUI and released later. However, just because Samek was lucky enough to be alive after this incident, authorities want to remind everyone to never drink and drive.
“Just because there is this feature available doesn’t mean they can just completely disregard being in control of the vehicle,“ said CHP public information officer Art Montiel.
The use of Autopilot in the incident has not yet been confirmed, but the vehicle’s data logs should be able to provide this information to investigators. If a driver fails to respond, the system is programmed to bring the vehicle to a stop with the hazard lights on and contact Tesla service, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who tweeted on Sunday that the company is “looking into what happened here.”