MA Drivers: Beware Of Those Horrific Self-Driving Vehicles
Well this does not look good! A terrifying video appears on social media that shows a man asleep behind the wheel of a Tesla operating on autopilot, on one of the last places you would want to see such a thing: You guessed it: The Massachusetts Turnpike!
Let's set the stage on this latest dose of craziness: A man is seen with his head bent forward in the driver’s seat of a dark-colored vehicle which is traveling with the quick-moving traffic on this busy stretch of highway. He looks to be fast asleep, as does a woman in the passenger seat. Both occupants just out like a light. Glad i wasn't anywhere in this vicinity!
Dakota Randall filmed this horrific scene in Newton at around 3 p.m. on Sunday near the highway’s exit 17 and posted the video on his Twitter page. He told WHDH that he was shocked to witness the clearly unconscious imbecile at the helm of the car for about a minute, and he honked his horn, but was not able to make him come back to reality. This video was also featured on NBC Nightly News. Check out Tom Costello's report which recently made national headlines:
(Video clip courtesy of Dakota Randall's Twitter page and NBC News)
This is eerie with a capital E! A spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police says they are aware of this video but have not been able to identify the driver. Tesla vehicles are equipped with an auto-pilot feature, which is “an advanced driver assistance system that enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel.” But that does not mean you can take a nap while heading from point A to point B.
Tesla vehicles are designed to keep pace with traffic flow (oh really!) and they are capable to suggest and make lane changes, but this should be obvious they are cautioning drivers (whether alert or comatose) the feature is “intended for use with a fully attentive individual, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any time.”
In a recent e-mail statement, a spokesperson for Tesla suggested this video may be part of what the carmaker described as a “dangerous prank or hoax” involving drivers of its semi-autonomous vehicles pretending to be asleep at the wheel however, Randall disputes that comment saying if it was an actual hoax, he didn’t know about it, as he describes his video as "legitimate in nature".
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also retweeted a video from the account:
"Tesla Auto-Pilot does not allow drivers to sleep behind the wheel. If the driver does not respond to attention prompts, the car will play a sound to try and get their attention and will wake them up immediately. If they still don’t respond the car will automatically slow down and pull over"
BOTTOM LINE: Let's go BACK to basics! Enough of these futuristic ideas that are supposed to make things easier for all of us, but when it comes to driving, alertness is paramount and top priority for everyone who is behind the wheel. Enough said!
(Some information obtained for this article courtesy of www.bostonmagazine.com)