Tesla Suspected DUI Driver Allegedly On Autopilot Detained in Glendale

Glendale, Calif. (KABC) – A DUI suspect was taken into custody after his Tesla vehicle, which was reportedly on autopilot, stopped on a freeway overpass in the Glendale area Thursday night.

According to the California Highway Patrol incident log, the vehicle collided with a roadside wall shortly after 11 p.m. and continued to travel leaving the driver unconscious.

The AIR7 HD was at the end of the incident at approximately 11:20 a.m. as the Tesla vehicle was traveling at a slow speed and eventually stalled after a CHP vehicle directly in front of the car. CHP units were following Tesla before stopping him.

Although it appeared that officers were following the car, the CHP later said it did not classify the incident as a chase.

Aerial footage captured after officers detained the driver when Tesla stopped the 134 freeway transition to 5 freeway. The CHP confirmed that the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI. His identity was not immediately released.

Video: Tesla driver apparently sleeping on the LA freeway

In a radio broadcast of the incident that was later obtained by ABC7, a dispatcher is heard saying: “The reporting party is advising that his wife is unconscious in the Tesla. Driving the vehicle himself.

Using shorthand for a traffic collision, the dispatcher says, “It ended up TC’ing into the right shoulder wall, and, uh, still continuing.”

Autopilot has often been misused by Tesla drivers who have been caught drunk driving or riding in the back seat while a car rolled over a California highway.

The electric vehicle maker uses a camera-based system, lots of computing power, and sometimes radar to find obstacles, determine what they are, and then decide what the vehicles should do. But researchers say it has had trouble with emergency vehicles and vertical trucks parked in its path.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened the Tesla investigation after matching 11 crashes since 2018 in which Tesla on Autopilot or cruise control have hit vehicles where first responders reported flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or Hazard warning cones are used.

NHTSA said that 17 people were injured and one died in these accidents. An investigation may lead to a recall or other enforcement action.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has also investigated Tesla accidents, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit the use of Autopilot to areas where it can be operated safely. It also recommended that Tesla needs to improve its system to ensure that drivers pay attention.

Last year the NTSB blamed lax regulation by Tesla, drivers and NHTSA for two collisions in which Teslas crashed while crossing tractor-trailers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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