Alberta RCMP charge Tesla driver for speeding and sleeping

Andrew Cummings
September 18, 2020

"Sure enough, a short time later the Tesla goes by".

RCMP located the vehicle, and found that the auto was travelling over 140 km/hour while both the driver and the passenger appeared to be sleeping, with both front seats fully reclined. After they switched on their emergency lights, the "Tesla automatically began to accelerate" and the officer radar checked the vehicle "confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h (93 mph)".

"But of course, there are aftermarket things that can be done to a vehicle against the manufacturer's recommendations to change or circumvent the safety system", the police officer said.

Turnbull said it doesn't appear the 2019 Tesla was outfitted with an autopilot feature. But he said many newer vehicle are equipped with driver-assist programs.

The driver was charged with speeding and fatigue, resulting in a 24-hour license suspension. "You can pay for programming and aftermarket changes to the auto that will allow it to be more of an autonomous vehicle ... a vehicle that is driving by itself". After consultation with Crown prosecutors, the risky driving charge was added.

Following further investigation and consultation with Crown Counsel, a Criminal Code charge of Dangerous Driving was laid against the driver, who was served with a summons for court in December.

"Depending on the model, depending on the year, depending on the program and the updates that are into the vehicle, the auto must feel some kind of input from the driver every X number of seconds", Turnbull said. "They come with the responsibility of driving".

There have not been any reported self-driving auto crashes in Canada, but several have been reported in the U.S.

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