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Ticket While Using AUTO-PILOT " Failure To Stay In Lane" "Reckless"

Well today I got pulled over for 'failure to stay in lane' while in Auto Pilot during rush hour SLC I-215. When I told the officer I was in auto pilot and the car adjusts for whats in front and both sides ( which there was a car in front , one along side and up the road a car on the side median. I was actually watching how it would react and the car moved left ( car on side of me) then when the car on the side median came up, it adjusted back and forth, but stayed in lanes...also I was set at 73mph in 70 .
When the police officer walked up he asked "have you been drinking" or "texting", I pulled you over because you could not stay in your lane" and I said no, explaining that I was using the Tesla Auto pilot... he told me that I'd better not, especially in heavy traffic. He goes back to his car and comes back with a ticket saying I wrote you up for speeding and 'let you off' with a warning on the careless driving and gave you a ticket for speeding" then throws the ticket and paperwork and says "you should not use that auto-pilot because its unsafe, Drive Your Car"... Needless to say, I am fighting him
 
Well today I got pulled over for 'failure to stay in lane' while in Auto Pilot during rush hour SLC I-215. When I told the officer I was in auto pilot and the car adjusts for whats in front and both sides ( which there was a car in front , one along side and up the road a car on the side median. I was actually watching how it would react and the car moved left ( car on side of me) then when the car on the side median came up, it adjusted back and forth, but stayed in lanes...also I was set at 73mph in 70 .
When the police officer walked up he asked "have you been drinking" or "texting", I pulled you over because you could not stay in your lane" and I said no, explaining that I was using the Tesla Auto pilot... he told me that I'd better not, especially in heavy traffic. He goes back to his car and comes back with a ticket saying I wrote you up for speeding and 'let you off' with a warning on the careless driving and gave you a ticket for speeding" then throws the ticket and paperwork and says "you should not use that auto-pilot because its unsafe, Drive Your Car"... Needless to say, I am fighting him

In theory he has every right to make that judgement call, and if analyzed, it's not impossible that he is right. However, it is also not impossible that he is, or could be, wrong.
 
As far as I understand auto pilot is only to be used on the freeway with clear markings and where its safe to do so. Im sure the cop has every right to assume what he did and just because its on auto pilot does not exempt from wrong doing would be my thought. If the car was indeed bouncing between the lanes I would be leary even as someone following you and be rather concerned it may be inattentive driving.
 

Doug_G

Lead Moderator
Global Moderator
Apr 2, 2010
17,888
3,410
Ottawa, Canada
Cops tend to trigger on cars that wander a bit side-to-side in their lanes, because it's a common indicator of an impaired driver. He might have thought your corrections were a little abrupt and/or slightly late - which during my brief test noticed autopilot sometimes does - and that might have been enough to raise his suspicions. When he didn't find a drunk driver behind the wheel he may have been looking for something else to throw at you, just to justify pulling you over.
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,251
378
Houston
This could be the case that begins auto-pilot regulation. Are you going to court? Are you going to site auto-pilot as being in control of steering and will you say you had both hands on the wheel? If not Tesla will blame you and only you for the ticket. Agree with comments on dashcams - they would help in this case.

Actually I take it back - you're aren't charged with anything but speeding, so auto-pilot won't have any bearing on it, nevermind. But thanks for sharing - its interesting he thought you were impaired. Its a reasonable assumption from outside the car. My car bounces around curves especially when the lines aren't smooth but rather jerky and uneven. The car follows the lines closely and when they jerk around so does the car. Really hoping they improve that with 7.1 if they ever put out a 7.1.

Did you know the cop was back there watching? I think I'd snap auto-pilot off if I had a cop behind me, unless I was on a straightaway, for exactly this reason. Humans really straighten out the curves when steering, but auto-pilot just blindly follows the lines - very annoying.
 

Electricfan

Active Member
Aug 24, 2013
1,251
378
Houston
The careless driving is a judgement call on the officers part. The fact that it was the car weaving is irrelevant. You are the person responsible for the car's actions. Unless you lose the traffic ticket and want to sue Tesla. But that would be just sad.

He only got a ticket for speeding, so the car weaving has nothing to do with anything in court.

But, hypothetically, if someone got a ticket for weaving, and they were on auto-pilot with both hands on the wheel and paying attention ready to take over at any time, that's a horse of a different color. Isn't Tesla taking responsibility for steering in a "lawful" manner? So a ticket would be Tesla's responsibility as long as the driver was using auto-pilot as directed by Tesla wouldn't it? I'm not a lawyer but that's the question I would ask my defense attorney in such a case.
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,022
4,707
McKinney, TX
IMO, the use of the term "reckless" is a subjective judgement that must be further supported by facts. Unlike "left of center" or "illegal lane change" that are intrinsically quantifiable, the driver's state of "reckless" can only be inferred from observed behavior. If the original poster did, in fact, stay within his lane, then the officer had no offense to cite, other than through further investigation that revealed an intent to be reckless.

I understand that the OP wasn't cited for reckless. I'm just thinking aloud. Were I cited for reckless in this situation, I would argue that driving on autopilot, carefully monitoring the car's behavior while keeping both hands on the wheel could never be called reckless, even if the car wiggled within its lane more than a typical driver allowed. To call such behavior reckless is no different than citing an elderly driver who wiggles within a lane slightly more than a younger driver or citing a beginning driver who does the same.

"Reckless" can be defined as "careless to the point of being heedless of the consequences." I'd readily task a citing officer to support this definition in court.

Being observably slightly less skilled than average is not reckless, especially in the absence of reckless intent.
 

Spidy

Active Member
Feb 7, 2015
1,365
1,106
EU
I think it just puts officers in a ****** situation. They see a car doing something, which is a indicator of drunk driving, texting etc. What is he supposed to do? Assume it's Autopilot, because it's a Tesla? Or pull you over like he was trained to do? Does this means a Tesla is now the best car to get, because cops will ignore you? He probably has a dashcam and caught it, so if something happens what is his excuse going to be when someone looks at the footage?

I guess that's also why he gave you the ticket. Because it doesn't exactly make his job easier if he has to pull over dozens of people for lane keeping software.

As far as I understand auto pilot is only to be used on the freeway with clear markings and where its safe to do so. Im sure the cop has every right to assume what he did and just because its on auto pilot does not exempt from wrong doing would be my thought. If the car was indeed bouncing between the lanes I would be leary even as someone following you and be rather concerned it may be inattentive driving.
+1
You might know it's Autopilot and you trust it 100%, but others don't know what is going on.
 

MikeL

some guy
Jan 24, 2013
1,044
139
Maybe if you were driving one of these they wouldn't notice (?) yes, I take pictures of people on the freeway
image.jpeg
 

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