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Drunk driver slept while Tesla drove Hwy 101 on auto-pilot, says CHP

Telsa Model S electric car. Telsa Model S electric car. Photo: Tesla Motors Telsa Model S electric car. Telsa Model…

A man found drunk and asleep at the wheel of his Tesla since early Friday morning while the vehicle drove down Highway 101 in Redwood City, authorities

Alexander Samek, 45, was arrested for driving under allegation that he allegedly used the autopilot function of his car to take a nap while he was behind the wheel. California Highway Patrol first observed the gray Tesla Model S traveling south on Highway 101 at Whipple Avenue just after 3:30, says Art Montiel, a CHP spokesman.

When officers pulled up next to the car they thought Samek was sleeping at the wheel. Samek did not answer when officers initially tried to overtake him, said Montiel, senior executives to assume that the car was in autopilot mode.

Patrol vehicles slowed the car by “jumping a break” where an officer behind Samek drove emergency lights on all roads of the highway, on a S-shaped road, to slow down traffic behind Tesla, Montiel said.

“We have to keep the traffic back so when the officers try to stop the vehicle we won. I have no other vehicles that hit Tesla’s cars or any other patrol cars,” said Montiel.

When the traffic behind the car was clear, the officer drove off The patrol car directly in front of Samek slowly slowed down until Tesla’s sensors kicked the break and the car finally reached a full stop on the highway, north of Embarcadero exit and about seven miles from where the event began, said Montiel.

The authorities said that the entire operation took say Samek got a field speed test after getting out of the vehicle and then detained, Montiel said.

Tesla rejected views on the incident.

The company’s autopilot technology has been involved in several accidents this year on due to inattentive drivers. In January, a man suspected of driving under the influence of Bay Bridge was arrested and said he had they used their Teslas autopilot mode.

On its website, Tesla clarifies that autopilotics are not synonymous with self-propelled cars or autonomous vehicles, and drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel all the time.

Ashley McBride is a staff writer in San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @ashleynmcb

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