Technically, that's dangerous driving and the case is heading to court.
In what will be a legal first in Canada, a British Columbia man has been charged with dangerous driving in Alberta because he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Tesla Model S while the Autopilot system was engaged. According to Global News, the driver, Leran Chai, 20, made his first court appearance earlier this month to face the charges. Along with the criminal charge, Chai has been accused of speeding.
This whole thing began last summer when drivers noticed Chai's 2019 Model S driving on the highway without a driver in sight. Those who managed to drive close enough to the all-electric sedan noticed Chai and his passenger were fast asleep with their seats fully reclined and were speeding along at up to 93 mph.
In case you weren't aware, Autopilot is classified as Level 2 self-driving, meaning drivers must keep their hands on the wheel at all times in order to take immediate manual control if necessary. Like many Tesla drivers, Chai simply ignored this fact. British Columbia laws do not permit driverless vehicles on roads as the driver must be fully responsible for the vehicle's operation when any sort of driver-assist system is activated.
Chai's case is expected to set a new legal precedent for the entire country and he's due in court again later next month. Unfortunately for him, his shady driving record will be coming with him. Early last year, he was convicted of driving without a license and given a $1,000 CAD fine.
Following that incident, he received another ticket for violating a license restriction and chose not to dispute it. In February of this year, he was accused of speeding. His latest shenanigans are by far the most serious to date as they could have had deadly consequences.
The combination of a history of driving violations and abusing Autopilot may not involve a jail sentence, but the court stands likely to impose an even heftier fine and, we suspect, a long-term license suspension.