- Police trailed a Tesla that was reportedly on Autopilot over a freeway overpass near Glendale, California.
- ABC7 captured aerial footage of the scene as the Tesla coasted down the road.
- The news channel noted that the Autopilot feature may have saved the driver’s life.
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A Tesla driver was taken into police custody on Thursday night for reportedly driving their car while under the influence.
The Tesla, which was believed to be on Autopilot, hit a roadside wall on a freeway in Glendale, California, according to the California Highway Patrol’s [CHP] incident log. The Tesla continued to drive down the freeway while the driver was passed out in the front seat, Associated Press reported.
ABC7 captured aerial footage of the scene as police attempted to stop the vehicle on a highway overpass. The authorities followed along behind the Tesla, which was slowly coasting down the road, and eventually pulled out in front of the electric car, gradually slowing the police car down. The Tesla responded by slowing down and eventually coming to a halt as the police car came to a stop in front of it.
The news channel noted that Tesla’s Autopilot feature potentially saved the driver’s life and those of other drivers on the freeway as it slowly guided the car down the expressway and eventually to a stop behind the police car.
ABC7 said it obtained radio transmission from the incident that indicated that someone had reported their wife was driving the Tesla while passed out in the front seat. The driver’s husband was trailing the car as he called the authorities, Associated Press reported. CHP told the local news channel that the driver had been arrested on suspicion of a DUI.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment from Insider. Tesla’s Autopilot has been under scrutiny in recent months, after the software was linked to several fatal crashes. The program – which enables the cars to steer, accelerate, and brake within the lane – requires a licensed operator to monitor the vehicle.
At least three Tesla drivers have died since 2016 while driving with Autopilot engaged. In two of the accidents, the vehicle failed to stop for tractors that were crossing the road. In the third instance, the car hit a concrete divider on the highway. Despite the crashes, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly said the system helps make the cars safer than competitors.