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Tesla Autopilot Driving Technology Saves Drunk Driver

September 06, 2021

Automobile manufacturers, like Tesla, are developing software that enables their vehicles to operate safely even if the driver is incapacitated due to an emergency medical event or intoxicated.  Drunk driving is illegal and is causes more than 10,000 preventable deaths in the United States each year.  Many of those tragically killed by drunk or drugged drivers are innocent travelers.   The country of Norway has some of the most statistically safest roads in the world.  However, a 2019 International Transport Forum report showed that 8% of Norway's fatal accidents involve drunk drivers.  

Tesla's autonomous driving vehicles can operate safely even when the driver is incapacitated due to an emergency medical event or intoxicated.  An incident such as this occurred recently in Norway.  A 24-year-old Tesla owner allegedly passing out while he was driving a Tesla Model S.  According to the news report, Tesla's Autopilot system was turned on, and this kept Model S to remain in its traffic lane, avoiding collisions with other vehicles.  

The report states that the system detected that the "driver was unresponsive," then the Tesla turned on its hazard lights and then came to a complete stop. Fortunately, Emergency Medical Services later examined the driver, and no one was harmed as a result of the incident.

Law enforcement officers stated that the Tesla driver was discovered unconscious and was drunk.  The driver denied that he was operating the Model S. The video showed the driver allegedly "passed out" in the driver's seat as the Tesla drove down the highway.  The video went viral.  Law enforcement officers tested the driver and charged him with operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  The Tesla owner's operator's license was temporarily suspended.  It is fortunate that no one was harmed, and safety advocates worry that autonomous driving vehicle owners will abuse the vehicles' driving technology.  

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Category: Auto Accidents

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.