New Video Shows Tesla Driver and Passenger Apparently Sleeping While on 'Dangerous' Highway: 'It Was Weird'

A Tesla driver has been caught on camera appearing to be asleep behind the wheel of a car that was traveling along the Massachusetts Turnpike on Sunday.

Video footage uploaded to Twitter by eyewitness Dakota Randall appeared to show the driver with his head pointed fully downwards. A second passenger who was in the vehicle also seemed to have nodded off. The incident was filmed at about 3 p.m. in Newton, close to Exit 17.

"Some guy literally asleep at the wheel on the Mass Pike (great place for it). Teslas are sick, I guess?" Randall tweeted yesterday in a post now 'liked' more than 1,400 times.

Randall said he filmed the Tesla driver for about a minute and unsuccessfully attempted to wake up the driver using his car's horn. The motorist remains unidentified.

"At no point did I feel like I was in danger until after the fact, when I thought 'wow, I was just driving next to somebody who was completely asleep on the Mass Pike of all places, like one of the most dangerous roads I can imagine," Randall told WHDH. "Yeah, the car stayed the same speed in the same way on the highway, and yeah, it didn't change at all. It was weird."

Some guy literally asleep at the wheel on the Mass Pike (great place for it).

Teslas are sick, I guess?

— Dakota Randall (@DakRandall) September 8, 2019

The eyewitness told NBC Boston the Tesla had been traveling at about 55 miles per hour (mph) at the time. "I was like that can't be right, so I did a double take, looked over and sure enough this guy was just, head between his legs completely asleep," Randall said.

An official from the Massachusetts State Police said the agency was aware of the social media footage but confirmed that no criminal complaint had been filed. A spokesperson told WHDH that a sleeping driver could potentially be charged with negligent and impaired driving.

Tesla, which is overseen by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, says its autopilot mode is an "assistance system" that is not intended to take over all driving responsibilities.

It says: "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. While 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 it does not allow the driver to abdicate responsibility."

A Tesla spokesperson told Newsweek via email: "Many of these videos appear to be dangerous pranks or hoaxes. Our driver-monitoring system repeatedly reminds drivers to remain engaged and prohibits the use of Autopilot when warnings are ignored."

"At highway speeds, drivers typically receive warnings every 30 seconds or less if their hands aren't detected on the wheel. Tesla owners have driven billions of miles using Autopilot, and data from our quarterly Vehicle Safety Report indicates that drivers using Autopilot experience fewer accidents than those operating without assistance," the statement added.

The firm stresses that drivers are shown visual reminders to keep their hands on the wheel while the mode is on. That hasn't stopped some from napping behind the wheel.

In June, a motorist was seen sleeping inside a Tesla Model 3 during California rush hour traffic. Three months earlier, in the same state, a man in a Tesla was spotted asleep while speeding along a busy freeway at 75 mph. "Dude is straight snoozing," Twitter user Seth Blake wrote, sharing the 9-second video recorded by his fiancée.

This article has been updated with comment from a Tesla spokesperson.