Canadian police charge Tesla driver who allegedly slept while driving at 90 mph

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said it received a speeding complaint in a car near Ponoka, Alta., Around 4 p.m. on July 9.

The vehicle was traveling over 140 km (86.9 miles) per hour with both front seats “fully reclined and both occupants appearing asleep,” the RCMP said.

When a police officer approached the vehicle equipped with emergency lights, the Tesla “automatically began to accelerate” to 150 km (93.2 m) per hour, the RCMP said.

After stopping him, the officer charged the driver, who is from British Columbia, with speeding and suspended his license for 24 hours. After further investigation, police charged him with dangerous driving and he is summoned to court in December.

“While new vehicle manufacturers have built in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of new vehicle safety systems, these systems are just that – additional safety systems,” said Superintendent Gary Graham of Services. Alberta RCMP traffic. “These are not stand-alone systems, they still have the responsibility to drive. ”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from CNN.

The company insisted that drivers remain in control of the vehicle while using the autopilot system, with a warning before its first use stating that drivers should keep their hands on the wheel and be ready to take over. at any time.

While the autopilot can keep the vehicle on a freeway lane and maintain distance from traffic, it is not a fully autonomous system and still requires driver supervision.

But this isn’t the first time the automaker and autopilot have been involved in a traffic incident – although the company has championed the technology.

Last year, a 50-year-old man died in a car crash after switching from manual mode to autopilot, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

And in 2018, Apple employee Walter Huang died when his car swerved off a freeway to the left, sped up, and crashed before catching fire. The autopilot function had been on for nearly 19 minutes, the NTSB found. Her family announced last year that they were suing Tesla, claiming the feature caused her death.

At the time, Tesla said the only way the vehicle could have crashed was if Huang had not “paid attention” to the road, “despite the car having issued several warnings to do so.”

Another man, Joshua Brown, died in May 2016 when his Tesla crashed into a trailer truck in Florida while the software was active.

CNN’s Jackie Wattles and Peter Valdes-Dapena contributed to this report.

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