Disturbing Video Shows Driver Apparently Asleep in Tesla Cruising Along Los Angeles Freeway During Rush Hour

A Tesla driver appearing to be asleep behind the wheel in rush hour traffic in California has been caught on camera—the latest in a growing line of similar incidents.

Footage taken by an eyewitness, first shared with ABC7, showed the Tesla Model 3 car traveling at the 405 and 5 Freeway interchange with the driver reclined without his or her hands on the wheel. The driver was allegedly still unresponsive while taking the 110 Freeway exit.

The eyewitness told ABC7 that he called 911 after spotting the driver. The footage sparked debate on the news outlet's social media page, as commenters argued about the abilities of the car's technology—and asking if the person taking the video was the bigger safety risk.

"Technology makes people lazy and stupid," one Facebook user wrote. Another commenter stated: "We have two irresponsible drivers, one is sleeping behind the wheel, the other [has a] phone in hand taking video of the other instead of paying attention to where they are going."

Tesla cars have a feature called "autopilot"—but it is not advertised as being fully autonomous. Instead, it is described as an "advanced driver assistance system" intended for use by an attentive person who has hands on the wheel and is prepared to take control at any time.

In a press kit for the futuristic electric vehicles, Tesla says: "Autopilot is designed to become more capable over time, in its current form, it is not a self-driving system, it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle, and does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility."

The driver in the latest incident has not yet been identified, and it was not immediately clear if the local police department or California Highway Patrol intend to launch an investigation.

In March, another Tesla driver was filmed asleep at the wheel while speeding along a California freeway at 75 mph. "Dude is straight snoozing," commented Twitter user Seth Blake, whose finance recorded the 9-second clip that went viral online. Shockingly, it appeared that the same Tesla driver has been caught on camera in the same sleepy position back in January.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said at the time: "If you do see somebody using that feature in that capacity call 911...we will try and get an officer out there as quick as we can."

In 2018, a man was arrested in Palo Alto for allegedly being asleep inside a Model S going 70 mph on highway 101. The suspect was detained on suspicion of driving under the influence.

In 2016, Model S driver Joshua Brown, 40, was killed in a traffic collision after the autopilot mode seemingly failed to distinguish the white side of a large 18-wheel truck from the bright sky.

According to Tesla, autopilot technology matches the speed of the car to surrounding traffic and comes with both audio and visual alerts when a driver does have their hands on the wheel.

"If the driver repeatedly ignores those warnings, they will be locked out from using autopilot during that trip," the company says. "This is designed to prevent driver misuse and is among the strongest driver-misuse safeguards of any kind on the road today."

Footage taken by an eyewitness showed the Tesla Model 3 car traveling at the 405 and 5 Freeway interchange with the driver reclined and apparently asleep at the wheel. ABC7/Screenshot/SRM_Flex