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Tesla driver using Autopilot suspected of DUI after crashing into Arizona cop car

A 23-year-old California man using Tesla’s Autopilot autonomous driving feature collided with an Arizona State Trooper’s vehicle on Tuesday afternoon and was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, according to state officials.

The crash occurred on the eastbound Interstate 10 near Benson, Arizona, when the Tesla rear-ended a trooper’s SUV while responding to an earlier crash. The trooper’s vehicle had moved over to the side of highway, and the impact from the Tesla caused it to collide with an ambulance, officials said. Only the driver of the Tesla sustained any injuries.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety tweeted Tuesday that the man driving the Tesla is under investigation for driving under the influence and remains in the hospital.

???? Reminder: Please #SlowDown & #MoveOver when you see flashing lights & vehicles stopped on the side of the road! Today, a Tesla rear-ended a patrol vehicle at the scene of an earlier crash on I-10 EB near Benson. Luckily, our sergeant wasn’t in the vehicle & wasn't hurt. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/WZhUQ10StL

— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) July 14, 2020

UPDATE: We can confirm the driver indicated to troopers the Tesla was on autopilot at the time of the collision. Additionally, the driver, a 23-year-old male from Irvine, CA, is being investigated for DUI. He remains in the hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) July 14, 2020

Bart Graves, a media relations specialist for the Arizona Department of Public Safety, told Digital Trends the driver of the Tesla is still under investigation and cannot comment whether or not he will be charged with a DUI, and said, “the investigation is continuing.”

In a tweet, the DSA said, “Please #SlowDown & #MoveOver when you see flashing lights & vehicles stopped on the side of the road!”

Tesla critics were quick to reply to the tweet, and corresponding Facebook post, reporting the crash Tuesday, many tweeting the hashtag “#slaughterpilot” in reference to the car company.

Tesla’s Autopilot feature is a big step toward a fully self-driving car, but the company warns users that “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment and will update this story when we hear back.

This isn’t the first time a Tesla being driven using the Autopilot feature has been involved in an accident or serious crash. In 2018, another California driver was killed after colliding with the roadside barrier and catching fire, leading The National Transportation Safety Board to call on the electric car company to improve its driver-assistance feature or risk federal investigation.

In June, a video showing a Tesla driven on auto-pilot crashing with an overturned truck went viral on social media, raising concerns about the effectiveness of one of Tesla’s most touted traits.

Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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