Tesla driver pulled over for sleeping at the wheel while car was on Autopilot


Controversies related to Tesla autopilot system have been on rise lately and in yet another related issue, a Tesla driver in the US county of Wisconsin was recently pulled over by the police for sleeping at the wheel while his car was clocking 82 mph on Autopilot.

The county’s deputy David Gomez had received a phone call early morning to look out for a Tesla Model 3 vehicle that was told to be travelling down the highway with its driver apparently asleep, as per local news channel WISN-TV. The deputy found the vehicle and followed it for around three kilometres.

Through out the chase, he kept changing the tone and pitch of his siren so as to alert the driver who was asleep. It wasn’t until the police vehicle came alongside the Tesla for the second time that its driver woke up and stopped the car at the side, local media stated. The Model 3 was clocking the speed of 82 mph (131 km/h).

(Also read | California’s Tesla crash victim praised ‘Autopilot mode’ in TikTok, FB videos)

On being confronted, the driver denied being asleep and said that he was periodically attentive as required by the autopilot system. However, the officer informed the local news channel that the data from the Tesla driver’s registration number reveals that there had been two more attempts earlier to pull over his car with his head seeming to be down on the wheel.

The 38-year-old Tesla driver was fined $187 for inattentive driving. The officer got his Model 3 towed as he felt that it wasn’t safe for the man to get behind the wheel again.

Though Tesla has highlighted that its Autopilot system requires the driver to keep hands on wheels at all times, the technology has allegedly been involved in several suspicious accidents lately. As Tesla’s self-drive feature has become a matter of concern, regulators at the automaker’s home base – California, are reviewing Tesla’s claims related to its AutoPilot feature.

As reported by Reuters, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has underscored that regulations forbid a carmaker from advertising a vehicle for sale or lease as autonomous. “We call on Tesla to stop using hyperbolic terminology to sell its already impressive technology,” an official was quoted as saying. Tesla CEO Musk has earlier said that vehicles equipped with self-drive feature are safer than others because these negate chances of human errors.