Futuristic self-driving cars are on their way sooner than we may think, however, they’re not quite as close to reality as some want to believe. A man was pulled over in Canada for speeding while driving a Tesla, where the police discovered him to be fast asleep.
Man Pulled Over While Sleep-Speeding in a Tesla
New Teslas, which come with an “autopilot” feature, are able to steer, brake, and accelerate by themselves within their lane. They still require an alert driver, however, to be watching the road and drive the car effectively. (1)
This Tesla driver apparently thought that the self-driving capabilities were advanced enough for him and his passenger to fully recline their seats and go to sleep while on the road. This is how the police found him when they pulled him over for speeding in Alberta, Canada. (1)
This past July near the town of Ponoka in Alberta, Canada police received a call about a speeding 2019 Tesla Model S. When they found the car it was traveling at 140km per hour. There was something strange about the vehicle, however – there didn’t appear to be anyone in it. (1)
The police put on their emergency lights, only to have everyone else on the highway move over, except for the vehicle in question. In fact, once the other cars were no longer in front of the Tesla, it sped up to a top speed of 150km per hour. (1)
When the police were finally able to pull the car over, they found both the driver and passenger with the seats fully reclined, napping. (1)
Initially, they charged the 20-year-old driver with speeding and suspended his license for 24 hours for fatigue. The British Columbia native has since been charged with dangerous driving and has a court hearing in December to determine his full sentence. (2)
“Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built-in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that -supplemental safety systems,” RCMP traffic services Superintendent Gary Graham said. “They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.” (1)
Other Incidences with Teslas
This is not the first time someone has wrongfully tried to take advantage of Tesla’s autopilot features.
Tesla Crashes Into Police Cars
On August 26, 2020, a Tesla crashed into police cars while on autopilot. The North Carolina driver was watching a movie at the time of the crash. Thankfully, no one was hurt. (3)
Sleeping Tesla Driver
Another sleeping driver was filmed last August in Los Angeles. In the video, he seems to wake up suddenly and grab hold of the wheel. This is just another of several other sleeping Tesla driver incidents reported in the United States. (4)
A Tesla Model S crashed into the back of a firetruck in Culver City in January 2018 while on driver-assist mode. The driver was eating and drinking at the time of the crash. The firetruck was empty and there were no injuries reported from the accident. (5)
A Deadly Video Game Session
In California in 2018, a driver used the autopilot features on his Tesla Model X to play video games on his smartphone while driving. While he was distracted, his car accelerated into the concrete barrier along the highway. Sadly, the driver was killed in the crash. (6)
The Bottom Line
Though Elon Musk says he expects his cars to eventually be 100% autonomous, they currently are not, and there are still several problems that require real-world testing. (2)
The autopilot features on these vehicles are not there so the driver can take their attention elsewhere and eat, sleep, or watch a movie. They still require the driver to present and with their attention on the road. They are called semi-autonomous for a reason.