Tesla Driver Arrested for DUI when Car on ‘Autopilot’

Autopilot DUI

A Tesla driver in San Francisco apparently conflated “autopilot” with “self-driving” last Saturday evening. He was passed out on the Bay Bridge with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit and held up traffic at 5:30. When he was awoken, he told the California Highway Patrol officer that the Tesla was “on autopilot.” He was arrested for DUI and his car was towed. (The car did not drive itself home or to jail.)

In another recent incident, a Tesla in “autopilot” crashed into a fire truck in Culver City, California. And a fatal crash in May 2016 involved a Tesla in autopilot mode because the car’s camera’s apparently didn’t recognize a white truck because the sky was bright. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no defects in the autopilot system.

There is no doubt that we will soon see these types of issues in Colorado car accidents, truck collisions and DUIs. Teslas are already popular in Aspen, Vail, and elsewhere in the Central Rockies because of their all-wheel-drive, environmental and status appeal. Whether enjoying apres ski or simply driving home, Colorado drivers will likely confuse or overestimate the ability of Tesla’s autopilot system. A spokesperson for Tesla told the San Francisco Chronicle that the autopilot system is supposed to be used “only with a fully functioning driver.”

More info can be found at the San Francisco Chronicle, Fortune, or the ABA Journal.

%d bloggers like this: