U.S.

Video: Tesla Driver Sleeps at Wheel Doing 75 Mph on California Highway—'Dude is Straight Snoozing'

A video on social media appearing to show a man asleep at the wheel of a Tesla speeding along a California freeway has been viewed nearly 150,000 times.

“Dude is straight snoozing going 75 mph [miles per hour] on the interstate, letting his Tesla do the work,” Twitter user Seth Blake wrote on Monday alongside the 9-second clip which has since been circulated more than 1,000 times and has racked up hundreds of comments.

The Tesla Model S driver has not been identified. Despite his sleepy demeanour, the driver did appear to have at least one hand resting on the steering wheel of the electric car.

Blake, who said his fiancée recorded the footage from his passenger seat, told ABC News he was driving to Los Angeles at the time. He claimed the driver was “totally asleep.” Tesla offer users an autopilot-style driver assistance system, but it is not designed for people taking a nap.

“We were going about 75 mph on the highway, and he was just totally out,” Blake told CBS Los Angeles Tuesday. “I noticed the guy was slouched way back in his chair…and I pull up next to him, he was asleep. So I asked my fiancée, I said, ‘Take a video of that, that guy’s sleeping.’”

“We were in his area when we were driving only for about 10 minutes, and he only woke up one time, and kind of like looked around and went back to sleep,” Blake claimed.

Amazingly, a similar video clip emerged on Facebook and Reddit in January this year showing a similar incident in the same region, filmed by witness Kevin Paschal, Electrek reported. CBS Los Angeles noted that it “appeared to be the same Tesla and driver” in both instances.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson told ABC News: “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.” It has not yet been confirmed if an autopilot mode was engaged at the time of the recording.

A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment on the video clip. On its website, however, it stresses there are limitations to the futuristic system, which is described as a safety feature.

“Autopilot is intended for use only with a fully attentive driver who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time,” the Elon Musk-led firm says.

“In its current form [autopilot] is not a self-driving system, it does not turn a Tesla into an autonomous vehicle, and it does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility.”

The company continues: “When used properly, Autopilot reduces a driver’s overall workload, and the redundancy of eight external cameras, radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors provides an additional layer of safety that two eyes alone would not have.”

There have multiple crashes on the roads involving Tesla cars allegedly in autopilot mode. One Model S driver collided with a tractor trailer and was killed on a Florida highway in 2016.

Last year, the same model of electric car allegedly accelerated just prior to crashing into a Utah fire department vehicle. The driver, Heather Lommatzsch, was not killed but instead suffered a broken right foot. Tesla confirmed the car’s speed had been “around 60 mph” at the time.

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