Tesla car seen on a lot at a Tesla dealership on January 03, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images (Getty Images)
In a stunning example of what Not To Do, a Tesla owner admitted last week to allowing his Full Self Driving Beta-enabled vehicle to drive his drunk, thoughtless ass home over the holidays.
The confession happened on a Twitter Spaces event called “$TSLA – Musk Metldown Marathon,” according to Insider:
“I admitted the other day, I was a little bit tipsy after Christmas,” the driver, whose Twitter handle is @denguyen73, said during a Twitter Spaces called “$TSLA – Musk Metldown Marathon.”
“I was probably drunk,” he added. “But with FSD, it drove me home, I mean, flawlessly.”
“Don’t do that,” another user, @eriz35, said while interrupting the driver and booing him. “Please don’t do that again.”
“Please don’t do that again.” is putting it mildly. Drunk driving is a crime, one that can quickly lead to fatal consequences. Each day, 32 people die in drunk driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s so bad that Congress passed a requirement in last year’s mega Infrastructure spending bill that new cars won’t be able to start if they detect alcohol on the driver’s breath.
Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving Beta is nowhere near ready to shuttle its drunk owners home all on its lonesome. It’s barely able to turn left or drive in the snow and some Beta testers are frightened by the latest update’s flaws. FSD Beta was reportedly responsible for an 8-car pile up on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge just in time for the holidays, if fact. Tesla’s suite of software is currently under investigation by the NHTSA initially over hundreds of reports of phantom braking, but that was only the beginning. It’s now also investigating Autopilot (finally) after several cars crashed into stopped emergency vehicles. NHTSA is also looking into an Autopilot crash involving a motorcyclist.
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But it’s not just NHTSA! The U.S. Department of Justice is looking into Autopilot as a criminal matter. The State of California, which recently banned “deceptively naming or marketing” vehicles as containing autonomous technology. Germany is investigating if Full Self-Driving and Autopilot is a danger to German drivers. Even Tesla admits you shouldn’t let FSD Beta drive for you. From the company’s website:
The currently enabled Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. Full autonomy will be dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, Musk has promised actual autonomy is coming soon every year for the last nine years. It’s a promise to consumers Musk’s own lawyers called “merely aspirational” in court. And now competition like GM’s Super Cruise and Ford’s BlueCruise seem to be running laps around FSD Beta.
This is all a very long way of saying when you are intoxicated behind the wheel of your Tesla and let that $15,000 FSD Beta take the wheel for you, that is a crime. You are indeed driving drunk. The Beta is still stuck at Level 2 autonomy and you need to be aware and alert to take over at any time and you can’t do that wasted.
This story luckily didn’t end in tragedy, but then again, we don’t hear from the fatalities of drunk drivers on Twitter Spaces. They’re lost forever. This problem and its solution, isn’t new, or difficult to understand: Just don’t drive drunk. Ever. No matter what hyped-up tech you have in your car.