Sleeping driver and passenger were fully reclined
Car accelerated when RCMP attempted to stop driver
Mounties in Alberta have charged a driver with dangerous driving for sleeping behind the wheel, after being nabbed napping while driving a Tesla along the QEII highway near Ponoka earlier this year.
The driver, a 20-year old man, was travelling at more than 140 km/h when it passed an Alberta RCMP Traffic Services officer parked near the town, about an hour south of Edmonton. In the RCMP-supplied photo, you can see a Tesla Model S passing a tractor-trailer with what appears to be a completely empty cabin.
While it’s not empty, the driver and passenger are fully reclined and asleep, police say.
When the RCMP officer turned on their emergency lights, the car sped up, accelerating to exactly 150 km/h, says the report. The driver received charges for speeding as well as a 24-hour license suspension for fatigue, but further investigation and a discussion with Crown Counsel raised the stakes.
Though the offence happened in June, the driver was just now charged with Dangerous Driving, a criminal code violation that could see the driver facing five years imprisonment and a one-year license ban. The driver has a summons to appear in court in December.
“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,” says Superintendent Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services. “They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”
Alberta RCMP received a complaint of a car speeding on Hwy 2 near #Ponoka. The car appeared to be self-driving, travelling over 140 km/h with both front seats completely reclined & occupants appeared to be asleep. The driver received a Dangerous Driving charge & summons for court pic.twitter.com/tr0RohJDH1
— RCMP Alberta (@RCMPAlberta) September 17, 2020
While it might be labelled Autopilot, and Telsa loves to throw around the phrase full self driving, no cars can yet drive themselves. You need to be hands-on (eyes-on for some systems) and you definitely have to be awake when you’re in charge of any vehicle.