Caught on camera: Tesla drives sleeping motorist down Massachusetts Turnpike

NEWTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A driver on the Massachusetts Turnpike Sunday saw one of his fellow motorists turn the passing lane into the passed-out lane as a Tesla drove down the road with two sleeping people in the front seat.

Dakota Randall said he was driving on I-90 by Newton Corner Sunday afternoon when he saw the Tesla and its passengers, who appeared to be asleep. Randall said he drove alongside the car for nearly a minute and beeped his horn, but the driver, whose head was leaning forward, did not wake up.

Randall said the car never changed speed or swerved as it ferried its snoozing cargo.

“At no point did I feel like I was in danger until after the fact, when I thought ‘Wow, I was just driving next to somebody who was completely asleep on the Mass Pike of all places, like one of the most dangerous roads I can imagine,” Randall said. “But yeah, the car stayed the same speed in the same way on the highway, and yeah, it didn’t change at all. It was weird.”

Teslas have an autopilot feature that allows cars to stay in their lane and speed and slow on their own, but they’re not fully autonomous. But that hasn’t stopped other motorists from falling asleep behind the wheel.

“Many of these videos appear to be dangerous pranks or hoaxes. Our driver-monitoring system repeatedly reminds drivers to remain engaged and prohibits the use of Autopilot when warnings are ignored. At highway speeds, drivers typically receive warnings every 30 seconds or less if their hands aren’t detected on the wheel,” according to a release issued by a spokesperson for the auto company. “Tesla owners have driven billions of miles using Autopilot, and data from our quarterly Vehicle Safety Report indicates that drivers using Autopilot experience fewer accidents than those operating without assistance.”

A State Police spokesman said police are aware of the video but no report has been filed. The spokesman said a sleeping driver would probably be charged with negligent and impaired driving.

 

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