Tesla Driver Apparently Asleep Doing 90 Miles Per Hour, Canadian Police Say

Marco Green
September 23, 2020

In July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) say they responded to a speeding complaint on Highway 2 near Ponoka - a town in Alberta, south of the province's capital of Edmonton.

At the time of the incident, another motorist placed an emergency call reporting that a Tesla was traveling at a high rate of speed, with the occupants of the front seats "completely reclined and. appearing to be asleep", the statement said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have charged a twenty-year-old man with risky driving after he was arrested for allegedly being asleep while his 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at more than ninety miles per hour.

Police Sergeant Darrin Turnbull told CBC that he was "speechless" and had not seen such a case in his two-decade career - "but of course the technology wasn't there".

Tesla's Autopilot Level 2 is not entirely autonomous.

While Autopilot can keep the auto in a highway lane and preserve range from traffic, it is not a totally self-governing system and still needs driver oversight. It also noted that Tesla's didn't come equipped with self-driving systems and onus is still on the driver to drive the vehicle.

The automaker's Autopilot system has been proven by traffic investigators to have contributed to a number of fatal crashes in the past, and the families of deceased drivers have sued Tesla for wrongful death.

It's unclear how the Model S driver misused Autopilot in the way that they did. But by marketing its system as "Autopilot", Tesla has been shown to encourage driver inattention. While the system supports adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, self-parking and the ability to change lanes, it still requires a driver's hands on the steering wheel to work. As any Autopilot user can attest, the vehicles will remind drivers to stay alert and place their hands on the wheel if their presence is not detected for a few seconds, escalating the visual and audible warnings, and ultimately locking the driver out of the feature for the duration of the trip if repeatedly ignored.

Since its launch in 2015, Tesla owners have sought out new and creative ways to trick Autopilot. People couldn't wait to upload videos sitting in the backseat while their cars drove "autonomously" down the highway. One was able to wedge and orange on the steering wheel, and there's also a very unsafe "Autopilot Buddy" that magnetically attaches the steering wheel. Federal regulators issued a cease and desist order to prevent its sale.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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