German police pull over Tesla driver suspected of being asleep behind the wheel with Autopilot engaged

A German Tesla owner made the Police earn their pay when they tried to pull him over as he had reportedly fallen asleep behind the wheel with Autopilot engaged.

According to a press release from the Polizei Bayern, traffic police in Bamberg raced after the electric for about a quarter of an hour on the Autobahn 70 (A70). They had tried to get the driver to stop with repeated horns and sirens for a traffic check.

The driver was driving on the A70 from Bamberg in the direction of Bayreuth around 12 p.m. when the police patrol wanted to subject him to a traffic check. He did not respond to stop signals or repeated horns from the officers,” the press release reads (translated from German).

The Tesla was travelling at 110 km/h or 68 mph. However, the police report that the 45-year old driver seemed to be fast asleep at the time. The press release explains the driver had his hands on the wheel, but he was reclined and had his eyes closed. The Police suspected he had engaged Autopilot and was not alert to take over in the case of an emergency. Police later discovered a “steering wheel weight” in the footwell of the vehicle, a device which is used to fool the car into believing the driver had his hands on the wheel.

Autopilot requires the driver to have their hands on the wheel at all times. However, some drivers have found a way around the requirement, although Tesla is now cracking down on this and can detect when one is being used and automatically disengage Autopilot.

The press release did not state what year or what model Tesla was involved in the incident.

Fortunately the driver did eventually responded and stopped as instructed. The Police reported he displayed “drug-typical abnormalities during the check-up.”

The driver has been charged with “endangering road traffic.” His driver’s license remains confiscated until the court concludes his case.

Autopilot has been involved in multiple crashes. The NHTSA added two new cases that involved Tesla driver assist to its investigations last week.

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