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Tesla Owner Suspected Of DUI Uses “Car Was Set On Autopilot” As Defense After Crash

A person behind the wheel with a BAC level almost twice the legal limit of driving used technology as an excuse after his vehicle crashed into the back of a parked firetruck on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.

He was not sober while driving and he added something different in the long list of excuses most intoxicated drivers give when they get involved in an accident.

According to him, he was not driving and he told CHP that his Tesla electric vehicle “had been set on autopilot.”

He was lying for which he was sent to jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Another similar case of Tesla autopilot crash happened which increased the interest of individuals regarding vehicles that drive themselves.

If automakers succeeded in creating cars which drive themselves safely, then the issue of driving under the influence will be solved which claims the life of many every year when people get behind the wheel drunk, resulting in accidents. Till then, there are cars with features that make them semi-autonomous and they act smart in many ways to avoid a collision.

According to the makers of Tesla, it is not totally autonomous and the people who operate it are told to remain alert while travelling because they are responsible for the car if anything wrong happens. However, there are chances that individuals ignore or don’t fully concentrate when the vehicle is doing most of the work, which is not safe at all.

Back in 2016, a deadly Tesla accident happened due to the auto pilot system. The Model S had been set on autopilot and the driver was not attentive while travelling. Neither the vehicle nor the driver recognized that a tractor-trailer loaded with blueberries had turned onto the divided highway. He had set the speed at 13 kmh over the posted speed limit and in the total 37 minutes of his drive, he had his hands on the wheel for just 25 seconds. There were 7 dashboard warnings and 6 audible warnings, which he ignored before the collision. That mistake proved to be deadly for him.

According to The Washington Post’s Peter Holley, Musk said in July, “We aimed for a very simple, clean design, because in the future — really, the future being now — the cars will be increasingly autonomous. So you won’t really need to look at an instrument panel all that often. You’ll be able to do whatever you want: You’ll be able to watch a movie, talk to friends, go to sleep.” He and the other automakers had recordings clearly showing the autopilot system saving lives. The videos show how the autopilot system protects individuals behind the wheel, as well as others riding in the vehicle and people walking on foot.

The person who was driving the Tesla was not identified by the cops that crashed into the firetruck on Bay Bridge. According to the authorities, people having vehicles with autopilot feature are not allowed to drink and get behind the wheel no matter how advanced its safety features.

Luckily, nobody sustained life-threatening injuries in the Bay Area wreck. Firefighters were parked in the emergency lane and car pool lane, responding to a crash on the other side of their truck.

It can be checked if the vehicle was using autopilot prior to the accident, but that information was not made public. The checker can help in knowing whether the driver was telling a lie or the car malfunctioned.

According to firefighters, the car was towed and “No, it didn’t drive itself to the tow yard.”

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With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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