Speeding driver uses 'autopilot' mode to floss, gets ticket

By Melissa Busch, DrBicuspid.com assistant editor

January 17, 2020 -- A Tesla driver in Canada may think twice before he decides again to work on his oral health while behind the wheel. The man was charged with careless driving after police caught him using both hands to floss his teeth while cruising on "autopilot," according to news reports.

The 58-year-old motorist, who Ontario Provincial Police did not name, was pulled over on January 8 after officers saw he didn't have any hands on the steering wheel because he was moving floss between his teeth. He was driving 84 mph, which is about 60 mph over the maximum speed limit in Oakville, where he was pulled over.

Though Tesla vehicles come equipped with a self-driving function that assists drivers with maintaining speed, changing lanes, and parking, the company urges motorists to pay attention and be prepared to take the wheel during difficult situations or to avoid crashes.

Unfortunately, this man isn't the first Tesla driver to misuse the car's self-driving function.

In December, a man in Connecticut was driving on autopilot when he crashed into a police car. The man was given a ticket for reckless driving after he admitted he wasn't paying attention. People have been caught eating, drinking, sleeping, and even creating a pornographic video while using autopilot.

Tesla makes it very clear on its website that its autopilot function only is meant to assist motorists and not drive the vehicles for them.

"Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability are intended for use with a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel and is prepared to take over at any moment. While these features are designed to become more capable over time, the currently enabled features do not make the vehicle autonomous," according to Tesla's website.

Tesla drivers in North America can take greater advantage of the vehicle's many self-driving features. It's not the same in Europe. In 2019, Tesla reduced the capacity of its self-driving features to comply with Europe's much stricter regulations for assisted-driving systems.


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