The Tesla Model S with reclined seats. Photo: RCMP

B.C. driver charged for allegedly speeding while sleeping in Tesla on Alberta highway

Incident took place in July

A B.C. man has been charged after allegedly speeding in a self-driving car, while sleeping, along a Highway near Ponoka.

According to a news release, Alberta RCMP received complaints of a car speeding south on Highway 2 at about 4 p.m. back on July 9.

Police alleged the car, a 2019 Tesla Model S, was travelling 140 km/h with both front seats completely reclined. Inside, both occupants appeared to be sleeping, police said.

As an officer activated their vehicle’s emergency lights, the Tesla allegedly 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,” RCMP said.

The officer was able to pull over the vehicle and charge a 20-year-old B.C. man with speeding, as well as hand him a 24-hour license suspicion for fatigue.

After further investigation and consultation with Crown, the driver – who was not named by police – has also been charged with dangerous driving.

“Although manufacturers of new vehicles have built in safeguards to prevent drivers from taking advantage of the new safety systems in vehicles, those systems are just that — supplemental safety systems,” said Supt. Gary Graham of Alberta RCMP Traffic Services.

“They are not self-driving systems, they still come with the responsibility of driving.”

The man is set to appear in court in December.

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