by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
And it wasn’t the first such incident, according to the Sacramento Bee:
A Northern California man was arrested Friday after he was caught sleeping and drunk behind the wheel of his Tesla, which was zooming down the highway, police said.
California Highway Patrol officers said they noticed 45-year-old Alexander Samek of Los Altos napping in the driver’s seat around 3:30 a.m. when officers drove next to him on Highway 101 heading south, KCBS reports. His grey Tesla Model S was going 70 miles per hour in a 65 zone.
Officers said nothing they did would rouse the man — not flashing police lights or blaring sirens, according to KCBS. Finally an officer had to make bumper-to-bumper contact to stop him.
“One of the officers basically ended up going in front of the vehicle and basically tried to slow it down,” California Highway Patrol spokesman Art Montiel told the radio station.
The Tesla pulled over on the roadway and Samek was taken to a Palo Alto gas station…. Samek was arrested on charges of driving under the influence after he failed a field sobriety test….
“It’s great that we have this technology,” Montiel said, according to the Mountain View Voice. “However, we need to remind people that … even though this technology is available, they need to make sure they know they are responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle.” …
Tesla’s autopilot feature has gotten other Californians in trouble, too.
Earlier this year, a man was arrested on the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland, after highway patrol officers said the driver was drunk and asleep behind the wheel.
The driver “explained Tesla had been set on autopilot,” according to police.