Tesla Safety Under Fire As Video Shows Driver Asleep While On Autopilot

Andrew Cummings
September 11, 2019

This most recent example of misuse of the technology comes from the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The video was captured by Dakota Randall who noticed the driver was asleep while passing by.

The video now going viral shows a woman in the passenger seat of a Tesla as it hurtles down a highway, head thrown back, dead asleep, probably drooling.

The report caused a lot of handwringing and suggested Tesla should be more aggressive about monitoring drivers and possible jerking them awake by braking sharply.

Massachusetts State Police said there are no laws on the books specifically banning sleeping behind the wheel of a self-driving auto.

"I thought I should record this, then I thought I shouldn't record this because it's also unsafe, but it was just so freakish I just had to get it on video", Randall said.

Tesla issued a statement after the video gained traction on social media.

A statement from Tesla accused some of the videos of being "hoaxes", assuring that drivers are reminded by their vehicles to "stay engaged" by warnings received every 30 seconds if their hands are not detected on the steering wheel.

The statement from Tesla stated: "Many of these videos appear to be unsafe pranks or hoaxes". "Tesla owners have driven billions of miles using Autopilot, and data from our quarterly Vehicle Safety Report indicates that drivers using Autopilot experience fewer accidents than those operating without assistance".

Randall said on Twitter that the video wasn't a hoax or prank - at least on his end.

This is the latest incident involving a driver seemingly asleep at the wheel of one of Tesla's cars.

Teslas have an autopilot function, but the company says drivers are expected to remain alert.

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