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Man passes out drunk in a Tesla, tells officers not to worry because car was ‘on Autopilot’

Updated 5 years ago

In a rather bizarre weekend tale, a San Francisco man on Friday evening passed out drunk in his Tesla Model S while trying to drive across the Bay Bridge, according to a report from SFGATE. As the story goes, the man fell asleep in bumper to bumper traffic whereupon other drivers on the road, seemingly unaware of the man’s inebriated state, called the police for help.

A short while later, officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) showed up to assess the situation and see what was going on — and this is where things take a turn for the absurd. Upon waking up, the Tesla owner tried to convince the attending officers that everything was okay because the car was “on autopilot.”

It was subsequently revealed that the man had a blood alcohol level that was more than twice the legal limit. Not surprisingly, he was arrested on charges of drunk driving, his appeal to the Tesla Autopilot gods notwithstanding.

With a somewhat comical take on the matter, the official CHP Twitter account posted the following late on Friday night.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that the current incarnation of Autopilot on Tesla vehicles will not simply take passed out or even inattentive drivers on a multi-hour journey. Due to some well-placed concerns stemming from Tesla owners posting absurd Autopilot videos online a few years back — including one of man who, with Autopilot engaged, decided to sit in the backseat — Tesla in recent years rolled out an update whereby drivers have to touch the steering wheel at least once every two minutes for Autopilot to remain on. Barring that, the car will simply slow down and eventually come to a halt, as was the case in the story above.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.