DUI Suspect Uses Tesla Autopilot as a Defense During Arrest

Passed out and blocking traffic on the Bay Bridge, the suspect said he wasn't driving drunk because his Tesla autopilot was on. 

A police car with lights flashing is pic
JOHANNES EISELE—AFP/Getty Images

As autonomous car technology advances, eventually, you won’t have to pay any attention while driving. You can sit back, relax and just enjoy the ride. But that technology is not yet readily available. So if you’re driving a car with autopilot on, you’ve still got to pay attention, and you absolutely cannot drive drunk. One California man recently found out that using the autopilot defense in your Tesla will not stop you from getting a DUI.

According to WMUR out of San Francisco, a man was passed out in his Tesla on the Bay Bridge last Saturday night. California Highway Patrol woke him up and the man assured them that everything was okay because he had his car on autopilot. CHP said that the man had a blood alcohol level at least twice the legal limit.

Obviously the autopilot defense didn’t work out for this guy. Tesla has warned their customers that autopilot doesn’t mean that you can you ignore the task at hand, driving. A spokesperson from Tesla told SFGATE that "autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver."

The California Highway Patrol puts the “troll” in Patrol, taking to twitter to post a picture of the DUI suspect along with a caption meant to clown. "When u pass out behind the wheel on the Bay Bridge with more than 2x legal alcohol BAC limit and are found by a CHP Motor. Driver explained Tesla had been set on autopilot. He was arrested and charged with suspicion of DUI. Car towed (no it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard)."

The good news in this case is that nobody was hurt despite the car being stuck in the middle of the traffic flow on the busy bridge. Cops are always patrolling the area so it didn’t take too long for them to respond to the call.