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Drunk Driver Falls Asleep in Tesla Model S Zooming Down The Highway at 70mph

It took officers from the California Highway Patrol a lot of effort and 7 long miles to pull over a Tesla Model S set on autopilot and with the drunk driver asleep at the wheel, The Sacramento Bee reports.
North California man arrested for sleeping while drunk at the wheel of his speeding Tesla Model S 15 photos
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The incident occurred on Friday and the drunk driver was eventually brought into custody. He has been identified as Alexander Samek of Los Altos, 45, who happens to be a member of the Los Altos Planning Commission. He failed a field sobriety test and has been charged with driving under the influence.

The police report notes that officers passed the Tesla and noticed that the driver was sound asleep at the wheel. They did everything they could to rouse him but nothing (neither the sirens or the flashing lights) worked to that effect. They eventually had no other solution but to ram the Tesla with the police cruiser to get a reaction from the man.

At the time this was happening, the Model S was zooming down the highway at 70mph, in a 65mph zone.

“One of the officers basically ended up going in front of the vehicle and basically tried to slow it down,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Art Montiel tells the media, as cited by the publication. The car eventually pulled over 7 miles from the point where the officers first noticed that the driver was sleeping at the wheel. Clearly, they have no way of knowing how long before he had been in that state.

Montiel used this arrest to stress that the Autopilot mode on any Tesla doesn’t mean that the car is self-driving, a distinction the carmaker has also struggled to make clear to the public in light of recent incidents.

“It’s great that we have this technology,” Montiel explained. “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.”

Tesla cars require the driver to have his or her hands on the wheel at all times, even when Autopilot mode is engaged. Whether Samek used a device to trick the car into thinking he was still with his hands on the wheel is not known at this time.

 
 
 
 
 

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