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Tesla driver slept as car was going over 80 mph on Autopilot, Wisconsin officials say

A 38-year-old driver from Palatine, Illinois, was ticketed and accused of sleeping behind the wheel of a 2019 Tesla, according to a sheriff’s report.

Tesla driver slept as car was going over 80 mph on Autopilot, Wisconsin officials say (Courtesy: NBC News)
Tesla driver slept as car was going over 80 mph on Autopilot, Wisconsin officials say (Courtesy: NBC News) (Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

KENOSHA COUNTY, Wis. – Wisconsin authorities ticketed a man who was seen sleeping behind the wheel of his Tesla as the car drove itself in a mode known as Autopilot, according to a sheriff’s report.

The Kenosha County sheriff reported that shortly before 8 a.m. Sunday, a deputy drove alongside the 2019 Tesla and observed its driver dozing as the car hurtled along Interstate 94, according to NBC News reporting.

The deputy tried to perform a traffic stop but noted that “the driver was not pulling over as he followed behind it for approximately 2 miles at 82 mph through Kenosha County.”

Eventually, after the deputy again pulled alongside the Tesla, the driver woke up and stopped the vehicle. According to the report, the driver denied being asleep but admitted being tired, and he was issued a citation for “inattentive driving.”

While Autopilot is only semi-autonomous and drivers are still supposed to maintain control of vehicles while using them, Tesla sells an upgrade called Full Self-Driving, which attracted the attention of California officials this week.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed that it is conducting a “review” of Tesla’s claims about sales of its Full Self-Driving mode, which costs $10,000 and is promised to be enabled by a future update.

Tesla, which disbanded its public relations department last year, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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