A minor teen who was driving a Tesla without a driver’s license or owner’s permission became creative when the car was stopped by the police: she decided to jump into the back seat and claimed that Tesla was self-driving.
The accident occurred near Daytona Beach, Florida, where a Flagler County deputy sheriff stopped a Tesla Model Y car that was traveling on the wrong side of the road.
After the car stopped, it slowly returned to the police cruiser.
When the attorney walked to the driver’s window to see what the problem was, he found no one in the driver’s seat.
Instead, the police officer found a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, one in the back seat and the other in the front passenger seat.
The girls claimed that no one drove the car and that the Tesla was self-driving.
While Tesla sells the “complete autonomous driving package”, the full version of the package is only tested in the “beta version” with a few thousand cars, and requires someone in the driver’s seat. Responsibility always rests with the driver.
Soon the attorney decided that the teenage girls were lying to hide the fact that they were not supposed to drive the electric car.
The teenage girls appeared to have driven all the way from Charleston, South Carolina, more than 300 miles away, and the driver’s mother thought they were at her grandmother’s house.
Sheriff Rick Staley commented on the situation [via the Daytona Beach News-Journal]:
These kids are very fortunate that no one was hurt and their actions had more serious consequences. It does not matter if you drive a “smart car”, driving without a license is still against the law. I hope these children learned a valuable lesson and I am grateful that no one was hurt and only a little damage to their car.
The “driver” ended up receiving a certificate of driving without a license and leaving the teenagers in the Florida Department of Children and Family custody overnight as the parents were unable to get there immediately.
This isn’t the first time drivers have attempted to blame Tesla’s autopilot for bad or illegal driving.
Tesla’s driver assistance features within the autopilot and fully autonomous driving packages are still considered “Level 2” on the autonomous driving standard, and should always be used with the driver’s full attention and the driver ready for control at all times.
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