Tesla owner was found passed out at the wheel after driving 70
miles on autopilot and was arrested on suspicion of driving under
the influence of alcohol Friday. The man fell asleep at the wheel
and if Tesla's built-in safety feature it eventually pulled over
and stopped driving. The driver was identified by California
Highway Patrol as Los Altos planning commissioner Alexander Joseph
Samek had the Tesla autopilot function turned on at the time he
was pulled over, but the CHP is still investigating before it will
come to a final conclusion, according to Officer Art Montiel. The
incident occurred around 3:35 a.m. when a CHP officer saw a gray
Tesla Model S going southbound on Highway 101.
— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea)
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Samek's Tesla was clocked at about 70 mph near Whipple Avenue in
Redwood City, according to Montiel. He added that the officer who
pulled alongside the car noticed the driver appeared to be
sleeping. The officer then tried to pull over the Tesla but there
was no response from the vehicle.
Using some quick thinking, the officer decided to try another
approach, pulling in front of the Tesla. Since Samek would not
wake up, the officer pulled in front of the Tesla and slowed down
believing that if the vehicle's autopilot function was engaged it
would slow the Tesla down when it sensed an object ahead.
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While the first officer attempted to get the Tesla autopilot to
pull over the car, another officer was running a traffic break
behind it to keep other vehicles from traveling past the unique
situation. The Tesla finally came to a stop in the No. 3 lane
north of Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto, a full seven miles from
where the officer first spotted the sleeping driver.
Officers were able to wake up Samek and put him in a patrol car
before taking him to a nearby Shell gas station while another
officer drove the Tesla to meet them. Once at a safe location,
officers conducted their traffic stop and had the Tesla towed from
the Shell. The driver, identified as Los Altos 45-year-old
planning commissioner was arrested for DUI, according to Montiel.
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Samek works as a real estate developer and was only serving his
first term on the Los Altos Planning Commission which is
responsible for advising the city council on planning and other
infrastructure issues. He was recently appointed as chairman of
the panel just last month. Montiel said drivers need to be able to
control their vehicles.
"What we know is that people who are using driver-assist mode need
to know they are responsible and aware of their surroundings while
the vehicle is in motion," he added.
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"Autopilot" should not be conflated to
"self-driving," as one allegedly inebriated Tesla
driver found out after failing to
cross the Bay Bridge last Saturday evening.
18 hours ago ... The California
Highway Patrol arrested a driver
who officers suspect was drunk
and asleep at the wheel of his Tesla
Model S while it cruised ...
Bay Area man, passed out at the wheel of a self-driving Tesla on the Bay Bridge, was
arrested for a DUI.
3 hours ago ... It took about 7
minutes and 7 miles for the police to be able to pull over a Tesla on Autopilot with a driver
allegedly drunk and asleep.
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Model S crashed into yet another fire truck resulting in two
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When u pass out behind the wheel on
the Bay Bridge with more than 2x legal alcohol BAC limit and
are found by a CHP Motor. Driver
explained Tesla had been set
Autopilot is, as the name implies, a driver's aid. The driver
is still the driver, and the
car does not drive itself. Before a drunk
can use her Tesla to get home
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themselves in limited situations—but that ability has gotten
the cars into trouble.
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Autopilot system was involved in two incidents recently. In
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1 hour ago ... California Highway
Patrol officers pulled a man over for driving under the
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zooming down the ...