Turns out Tesla's Autopilot driver assist won't get you out of a DUI.
Imagine a world where drink driving accidents are a thing of the past. This could be a real possibility if self-driving cars ever become mainstream like automakers keep telling us they will. Then again, we’ll probably be worrying about driverless car technology causing accidents instead. It raises the question of how involved drivers will be behind the wheel when fully autonomous technology inevitably takes off. That time hasn’t come just yet, though, as a drunk driver in California recently found out.
Right now, semi-autonomous technology like Tesla’s Autopilot system can take over driving in certain conditions like cruising on a highway, but it still requires human intervention. This hasn’t stopped some people becoming too complacent in their driving habits with the technology. SFGate reports that the California Highway Patrol discovered a driver passed out in his Tesla which was stopped in the middle of the Bay Bridge in the early hours of the morning. When officers woke him up, he defended himself by saying that the car was "on autopilot" to guide him home safely. Unsurprisingly, this excuse didn’t go down well with the police, who found that he had a blood alcohol level of "at least twice" the legal limit.
He was promptly arrested and charged with suspicion of a DUI after drivers reported him stopped in traffic. His Tesla was towed away – and no, it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard, as the police pointed out on Twitter. Tesla hasn’t confirmed whether the car was on autopilot as the driver claims, but a representative told SFGate that “autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver.” In other words, you have to be sober, so Tesla’s autopilot won’t get you out of a DUI. Common sense, on the other hand, will.