Police had a hard time waking a Tesla driver who was testing the limits of his car’s autopilot system Friday morning. The suspected drunk was sacked out at 3:30 a.m. The only issue was where he’d decided to take his nap: in the fast lane of Highway 101. Thankfully, his Tesla Model S was doing what it was supposed to do.
When the police managed to rouse the driver, Alexander Samek, they arrested him. He’s being charged with driving drunk, though that shouldn’t be too difficult for any good lawyer to defend. He clearly wasn’t driving. He was passed out.
“Around 3:37 a.m. Friday, a CHP officer spotted a gray Tesla driving at 70 miles an hour on Highway 101 near Redwood City,” Fortune writes. “After noticing that the driver appeared to be asleep, officers closed down traffic on the highway and slowed the Tesla by pulling in front of it and slowing down.”
The flashing lights and sirens woke the man from his stupor. But not immediately. It took several minutes of the pursuit for the man to wake up.
He then complied with the demands of the California Highway Patrol officers who had pulled him over.
“It’s great that we have this technology; however, we need to remind people that … even though this technology is available, they need to make sure they know they are responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle,” CHP spokesman Art Montiel said.
This isn’t the first time a Tesla has taken center stage in alcohol-related traffic incident.
“In August,” Fortune notes, “a 37-year-old Monterey man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after his Tesla crashed into a San Jose fire truck. And in January, another driver was arrested on the same charge after passing out in his Tesla while it drove in autopilot mode across the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.”
As of today Tesla owners have driven 1 billion (!) miles with Autopilot engaged pic.twitter.com/16jMYrAZ7u
— Tesla (@Tesla) November 28, 2018
Tesla, meanwhile, is tracking the use of their autopilot mode. They argue that the technology has been used for more than a billion miles of safe travel.