Another Tesla Model 3 Driver Caught Sleeping Behind the Wheel While on Autopilot
The number of videos showing irresponsible behaviors and abuse of Autopilot’s capabilities is rapidly increasing.
Yet again, a Tesla owner has been filmed abusing their car's Autopilot driving assist system on a busy highway, putting their own and others' lives at risk.
This incident was filmed by Instagram user srm_flex, who identifies himself as Shawn Miladinovich. ABC 7 Chicago reports that Miladinovich was traveling down California's Interstate 405 when he encountered the rogue Tesla, and that one of its viewers corroborated the sighting. Said viewer reportedly called 911 on the Tesla's driver, but law enforcement didn't catch up before the Tesla took the exit for Interstate 110.
Tesla's Autopilot is supposed to deactivate when the driver's hands leave the wheel for a set period of time or if its operator's focus wanders (the Model 3 has a driver-facing camera to monitor their attentiveness). Evidently, neither system worked properly or may have potentially been overridden by "hacks" Tesla owners share with one another to trick the system. Wedging a piece of fruit or a water bottle into the steering wheel are common overrides.
At every turn, Tesla has insisted that proper use of Autopilot is the responsibility of the driver, but it has stopped short of formally decrying the system's misuse. Tesla states that Autopilot "is not a self-driving system, it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle, and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility," but has been accused of improperly educating its customers about the difference between Autopilot and true autonomous driving.
Drivers relying on Autopilot for their travel have been the victims of two fatal crashes, and anecdotes of Tesla's vehicles behaving unpredictably litter the internet. Ergo, if you see a Tesla on the go with someone asleep at the wheel, be sure to record the driver, and get their license plate in the video so law enforcement can investigate. If convicted, they could lose their drivers' license, as anyone who misuses Autopilot ought to.