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Sleeping Tesla Driver Faces Criminal Charges for Dangerous Autopilot Use

After being caught sleeping while using Tesla Autopilot at a dangerously high speed, 20-year-old Leran Cai is going to trial  for what legal experts are calling an unprecedented case. The driver was hit with criminal charges in September after being discovered asleep with his seat “fully reclined” while using Tesla Autopilot on a highway in Canada:

It is widely known, Tesla Autopilot is not a fully self-driving system yet, and is meant only as a driver assist feature. Although irresponsible drivers continue to push the autonomy of their EVs, Tesla repeatedly reminds drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and to pay attention at all times.

The police reported some suspicious behaviors from the vehicle saying “After the responding Officer activated emergency lights on their vehicle, the Tesla automatically began to accelerate. The Officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h.”

Police said they issued the driver a speeding ticket. However, the driver was later charged with dangerous driving, and now we are learning the case is making its way to court.

According to Global News reports: “In what Canadian legal experts are calling an unprecedented case, a B.C. man has been charged with dangerous driving in Alberta after he was allegedly caught sleeping in a self-driving Tesla as it sped south on Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary this past summer.”

Cai’s charges were further explained: “On top of the criminal charge, Cai is accused of speeding and RCMP said he also received a 24-hour licence suspension for fatigue in connection with the alleged July 9 incident, in which drivers and police noticed a 2019 Tesla Model S operating with no driver in sight.”

Court is scheduled for January 29 of 2021 in Ponoka. It will be interesting to see if the judge will make an example of Cai, as this type of criminal driving is uncharted territory and certainly something that needs to be deterred from.

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