Tesla Driver Pulled Over for Sleeping at 82 MPH, Is Third Time Offender

Deputies pull over driver of Tesla sleeping at the wheel, while doing 82 mph 1 photo
Photo: YouTube/Fox 6/Kenosha County Sheriff's Office
Another instance of alleged Autopilot abuse is making headlines, putting Tesla in the hot seat for not using better safeguards against preventing it. A man was pulled over for sleeping in his Tesla on Autopilot while doing 82 mph (132 kph).
On May 16, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office was alerted that a man in a black Tesla was apparently asleep at the wheel on the interstate; a deputy patrol car was immediately dispatched. The patrol pulled up next to the Tesla, and the deputy inside noticed that the man at the wheel had his eyes lowered and his head turned, giving the distinct impression that he was not paying attention to the road.

With lights and sirens blazing, the patrol car pursued the 2019 Tesla for two miles (3.2 km) before the driver noticed and pulled over. He got out of the car and, while confronted right away by the deputy for sleeping at the wheel, he denied it. He did say, however, that he was “a little bit tired.”

“No, you were sleeping, sir. I was on the side of you,” the deputy told him, as shown in the bodycam footage released. “I was looking at you and you were doing this. Your eyes were closed. So I know, I understand you have autopilot, but if something was to happen, you’re not able to make that conscious decision to stop in a hurry.”

The man told the deputy that he worked as a UPS driver and drove from Illinois across state lines to work regularly. He hadn’t been drinking or taking drugs, but he wasn’t sleeping either, he insisted. He was cited for inattentive driving and, after the talking to from the deputy, he was let go.

As it turns out, the man is a third-time offender, CNN reports. He’s also been pulled over for the exact thing—sleeping while the Tesla drove itself on Autopilot—in February this year and in August 2020. That speaks to a worrisome pattern of Autopilot abuse, one which current Tesla safeguards aren’t enough to curb.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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