A guy driving a Tesla Model X recently got pinched for drunk driving, even though he was in the passenger seat. That’s right. He had some drinks at dinner and didn’t feel comfortable driving, so he tagged his Tesla in to take over. Although his heart was in the right place, the robo-DD didn’t do so hot. The Tesla Model X in “Autopilot” crashed before it got out of the parking lot.
When will people learn that trusting Tesla Autopilot with your life is a bad idea?
Our intrepid Tesla Model X driver attempted to use his Tesla “Autopilot” for good, and still, it backfired.
CarScoops reports that despite his altruistic effort, local authorities revoked the driver’s license after he crashed his Model X in a parking complex in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in China.
Although Tesla’s “Autopilot” couldn’t shoulder the load, the man’s idea wasn’t half bad. After drinking at dinner, he wasn’t comfortable driving. Kudos. So he called a friend to drive him home. The friend could only meet him at the north gate of the parking lot. Being a buzzed problem solver, the Tesla owner figured his Tesla could drive better than he could in his inebriated condition.
Reports say that he got into the passenger seat and gave Tesla Autopilot the reins. The Pan Daily reports that the Tesla ran off the road before he could get out of the parking lot and crashed into the top of a park bench.
Can you use Tesla Autopilot if you’re drunk?
As soon as the authorities showed up on the scene, they hit our guy with a breathalyzer test. The test returned a reading of 86.6 mg/100 ml, meaning he was immediately charged with drunk driving.
Tesla, now with skin in the game, looked into it and determined that the driver’s story of sitting in the passenger seat wasn’t true. We know Teslas won’t start without someone in the driver’s seat. According to Tesla, the Model X showed that he was in the driver’s seat when the car crashed.
Of course, as with all of these murky “Autopilot” crash stories, of which there are a great many, Tesla says it’s unclear if “Autopilot” was engaged or not. Either way, the police didn’t care. They revoked his license for a heavy five years. So, no, you can’t drive drunk with Tesla “Autopilot.”
Is Tesla “Autopilot” safe?
According to the Washington Post, 273 car crashes have involved Teslas using “Autopilot.” In this same WaPo piece, the writer mentions that, according to the NHTSA, “Tesla vehicles made up nearly 70 percent of the 392 crashes involving advanced driver-assistance systems reported since last July, and a majority of the fatalities and serious injuries.” Of those crashes, the six crashes that specify a fatality in this data set, five of the fatalities were connected to Tesla vehicles.
Investigations continue to see if this tech is ready for public use. So far, the data isn’t looking great.