Alberta RCMP charge B.C. Tesla driver after being caught speeding and sleeping while on Autopilot [Update]

Despite Tesla repeatedly telling driver that Autopilot is a driver-assist feature and doesn’t make your car fully autonomous, it appears some owners still aren’t getting the message.

A 20-year old man from British Columbia is now facing charges in Alberta after driving at over 140km/h while allegedly asleep behind the wheel.

The incident occurred on July 9, 2020 along Highway 2 near Ponoka. At around 4:00pm, police received reports of a speeding car which, according to the caller, appeared to be driving by itself at over 140km/h (87mph) as both the driver and passenger seats were completely reclined.

Tesla Model S Alberta
Image via Ponoka RCMP

After locating the 2019 Tesla Model S, an Alberta RCMP Traffic Services member turned on the emergency lights to pull the vehicle over. It was then when the Tesla began to accelerate, reaching a speed of 150km/h, before finally pulling over.

The driver was ticketed for speeding, and received a 24-hour suspension of his driver’s license for fatigue. The case was further investigated and a Criminal Code charge of Dangerous Driving was also laid against the driver. He is set to appear in court in December.

UPDATE: According to the Electric Vehicle Association of Alberta (EVAA), the driver and passenger were not asleep behind the wheel.

Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services reminds Tesla owners in a press release that Autopilot is still only a driver-assist feature, and to always pay attention to your surroundings.

Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that — supplemental safety systems. They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”

While Tesla has implemented warnings to keep your hands on the wheel and to remain alert and be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time, there are still cheat devices to bypass them. Drive Tesla reported on a similar story last year, where this Model X owner from Toronto filmed himself asleep behind the wheel while on Autopilot.

Model X driver sleeping

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