Police Stop Tesla Driver Who Fell Asleep While on Autopilot
Law enforcement officers drove behind a Tesla for more than two miles in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, before the driver realized that they were trying to pull him over.
Tesla's autopilot function can be both a blessing and a curse because while it allows the driver the luxury of taking his hands off the wheel, it is also tempting to doze off or become preoccupied with a cellphone or laptop.
Police officers from Kenosha County, Wisconsin, came across a Tesla that was crossing over the Wisconsin/ Illinois border, but the driver was taking a nap behind the wheel, not paying any attention to his surroundings.
SLEEPING BEHIND THE WHEEL
Footage of the incident was captured by the officer, Deputy Gomez, showing the black vehicle on the road driving at a speed of 82 mph. When he pulled up alongside the car, he saw the driver with his head down, not looking at the road ahead.
The officer pulled his vehicle in behind the Tesla and put his lights and sirens on to try to get the attention of the driver, but for more than two miles, the car continued straight, with the driver not showing any recognition of the police.
GETTING HIS ATTENTION
Eventually, Deputy Gomez pulled up alongside the black car for a second time and managed to get the attention of the sleeping driver, who proceeded to pull the Tesla off the side of the road.
The Tesla was towed because the driver was not permitted to come and fetch his vehicle later.
The driver stepped out of the car, and when questioned by the police officers about why he was sleeping, he said that he was tired but that he wasn't sleeping behind the wheel.
EXPLAINING THE SITUATION
The 38-year-old driver revealed that he was on his way to work and that because he works seven days a week, he was very tired. However, he continued to deny that he was sleeping in the vehicle.
Deputy Gomez explained that even though the Tesla has autopilot, it remains unsafe to be unconscious behind the wheel because if something were to happen on the road suddenly, the driver would be unable to react.
The footage shows how the police officer searches the vehicle and finds that it was on autopilot, which proves that the driver was not actively involved in steering the Tesla.
The driver continued to deny that he was sleeping, repeating that he was only tired but that he did not doze off. The officer revealed that he had proof that he was not conscious behind the wheel and said:
"You are going to get a ticket now, because you were sleeping."
WRITING THE TICKET
Deputy Gomez had to return to his vehicle to look up what ticket to give the driver because the regulations surrounding autopilot is not clear.
The law enforcement officers also didn't permit the driver to get back into his vehicle but offered to drop him off at the nearest truck stop because it was too much of a risk to allow him to get behind the wheel again.
The Tesla was towed because the driver was not permitted to come and fetch his vehicle later. The tow truck driver struggled to get the Tesla loaded but eventually managed and got it off the road.