DragTimes Gets Pulled Over As Autopiloted Tesla Model S Goes 15 MPH Over The Limit – Video


Hands free

Hands free

DragTimes presents an exceptional video of Autopilot testing in a Tesla Model S.

The driver is largely impressed by the system, which works as described even in construction zones.

However, there was one somewhat minor problem – getting pulled over for going over the speed limit while using the system (which resulted in a speed warning and a ticket for not having insurance with them) which is discussed both in the video and in the description below:

“Extensive 16 minute test drive of the new Autopilot software version 7 from Tesla.

We test the car out on the city streets, open highway and bumper to bumper traffic in Miami.

We even got pulled over by the FHP, Florida Highway Patrol because the autopilot was speeding, 75MPH in a 60MPH zone!”

Autopilotted Tesla Model S Gets Ticketed For Speeding

Autopiloted Tesla Model S Gets Speed Warning and Insurance Ticket While Using/Reviewing Autopilot

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39 Comments on "DragTimes Gets Pulled Over As Autopiloted Tesla Model S Goes 15 MPH Over The Limit – Video"

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So that answers the question of will the auto pilot drive at the posted speed limit or like normal people. I wonder if there is a capability for the driver to select how much over the speed limit he would like to go, or is it controlled entirely by the software. If the latter, who is responsible for the speeding tickets, higher insurance rates, and liability resulting from what the police a speed related accident.

One screen shot shows a control which lets you set, in 1 MPH increments, how far over or under the speed limit you want to go. No indication whether there is a limit or not; the screen shot showed +5.

I don’t believe that the vehicle is actually able to read the speed signs along the road I think what actually happens is it is GPS based and the points where the speed limit along the road changes and are based on GPS weigh point actually. my Chevy Volt does the same thing and displays the speed limit road sign on the navigation screen.

The forward facing camera on the Model S does read speed limit signs, but the driver can still set a desired speed above that limit.

I don’t have time to watch this right now, but I am guessing the signage wasn’t good (or too far away) or he just choose to set the speed above the limit anyway.

Daniel said:

“I don’t believe that the vehicle is actually able to read the speed signs along the road…”

Reports are that it is supposed to do exactly that, altho apparently it doesn’t do so reliably. (If it did was reliable, then the driver in the video above wouldn’t have been stopped by the police.)

This shouldn’t be surprising, as Google self-driving cars can apparently recognize and obey stop signs and traffic lights.

I do know that my Volt “which has no forward facing camera” can and does reliably display the current speed limit on my Navigation screen. and when I pass a sign that posts a different speed it changes on the display. The problem occurs when the speed limit changes “temporarily” from normal I’ve noticed that In those scenarios “construction zones etc”, the speed limit display does not change. Likewise there is a section of I-10 that used to be 65 mph due to congestion. That section has been widened and new speed limit signage installed 75 mph” But when I pass through that section my speed limit display will decrease to 65 mph.

I still believe that the car is not actually “physically seeing” and interpreting the symbols on the sign itself. While Tesla staffers and others have described it as “the car can read the signs” It seems much more likely that he information displayed is GPS based and imbedded in the Navigation systems maps.

I suppose this may be wrong but it does seem more likely IMHO.

The Tesla System is based on the MobiEye system, which definitely reads speed limit signs. Also you can see it change as you pass each sign. GPS data is frequently out of date, especially around construction areas.

THE Tesla TACC does not automatically follow the speed limit signs, because a miss read could result in very bad behaviors, like slowing to 5 MPH on the freeway. Also there were cases where people messed with the signs, changing it to 85 in stead of 55, etc.

Eventually it will probably use a combination of the GPS and road signs to pick the right speed. without being able to be fooled by doctored signs.

The Model S *can* read speed limit signs – and does so quite well in my experience – so long as they are clearly posted. I can understand people’s misgivings about Autopilot – as it is, the Traffic Aware Cruise Control is pretty good at lulling you into a false sense of security. The best example of this is when you are on a dual carriageway in sparse traffic using TACC and you get to a roundabout. The car slows down to queue up behind the car(s) in front and stop/goes quite satisfactorily… until the last car goes and then it goes to – no matter if something is bearing down on you on the roundabout or not. I would like to see the nav – which knows you are at a roundabout – turn off the TACC in such circumstances. My main issue (related to my last paragraph) with the Autopilot’s release is, why, if Tesla says it should only be used on freeways and the car knows from its nav package what sort of road it is on (95% of the time anyway), allow drivers to activate it if it is on an unsuitable road? I look forward… Read more »

The fault lies entirely with the driver, this is a non-story.

The way autopilot works is the same as standard cruise control. The driver sets the speed.

The car knows the speed limit most of the time, but this system is not designed to reduce speed when the speed limit changes, that responsibility is on the driver.

Tesla Autopilot clearly states to only use on divided highways, several times, and you are required to ‘agree’ in the user interface before you can enable the feature.

Perhaps they should have called it “enhanced cruise control” and not “autopilot.”. Autopilot means something very specific: driving without the need for human input. Clearly human input is still needed. Here Tesla trying to have its cake and eat it too–selling something that is billed to reduce the driver’s responsibilities, while still passing off all responsibility to the driver.


The pilot in command bears total responsibility for the operation of the vehicle.

This has long been established in law.

And pilots have to go through a thorough training course, passing many tests before they’re given a pilot’s license. I think they have to have an annual review, too. A pilot is trained to know when to use an autopilot… and when it’s not. Contrariwise, Tesla has released Autosteer (Beta) into the wild, and unfortunately it has quickly become clear that all too many Tesla Model S drivers completely ignore all warnings about restrictions on its use. Altho I’m a fan of Tesla, I have to agree with Three Electrics here: Tesla deliberately chose to overstate the capabilities of Autosteer and other driver assist features by giving them a collective label of “Autopilot”, which strongly suggests that cars should be fully self-driving. Just how much responsibility Tesla bears for Model S drivers repeatedly and flagrantly endangering others on the road — as clearly shown in the video linked above (starting at time 1:21) — is of course a matter of opinion… and, if Tesla doesn’t withdraw the capability until it can limit improper use, it’s very soon going to become a matter for the courts to decide, because it seems almost certain that someone is going to have a very… Read more »


That rare “please place hands on the wheel” warning should become a constant siren if you remove your hands at all. At least as far as the current implementation’s reliability. Even if the autosteer failure rate is 0.01% it’s still too high when it comes to thousands of pounds of mass rolling out of control.

My only hope is that the Tesla community is small enough and tight enough knit that these videos will go viral amongst owners and they’ll learn to treat the system with caution before something horrible happens… But as the Tesla fleet expands I still predict disaster sooner or later.


PP> pilots have to go through a thorough training course, passing many tests before they’re given a pilot’s license.

Drivers have to go through a thorough training course, passing many tests before they’re given a drivers’s license.

None of which changes the reality that whether simple cruise control, or adaptive cruise control or lane keeping, these systems are under the sole control and responsibility of the driver (pilot).

Mercedes and Volvo and other automakers have had these systems for a while, Tesla is just the latest addition to the club.

No, that’s not what autopilot means, at least not in aircraft, where the term comes from. Autopilot is not autonomous driving. Autopilot, on a plane, handles control inputs, while the pilot sets course and altitude and generally watches over the autopilot. It is a device to reduce workload and fatigue. It’s automatic, not automated.

This is why Tesla does not call it autonomous.



That was 30 years ago. Modern airplane autopilots can do the complete flight, from the moment of lift off to touch down.

If another aircraft is on a collision course with said aircraft with autopilot engaged, can the autopilot change its aircraft’s course to avoid a collision or just warn the pilot? MW

The training would be for a different system (TCAS) to warn of a collision.

Then, when the warning is sounded, the pilot would disengage the autopilot and manually follow the commands (climb or descend).

Autopilot is NOT used is such a situation.

Yes, fault lies with driver, but it raises an interesting point about how much slower one needs to go, when not “autopiloting” for those special sitghtings.

Waze integration, maybe?

Brent said:

“…this system is not designed to reduce speed when the speed limit changes, that responsibility is on the driver.”

I completely agree the responsibility is on the driver. He’s not suppose to start ignoring the road, so he doesn’t notice a change in speed limit, as the “driver” in this video did.

But I’m not so sure the “Autopilot” in the Model S isn’t designed to change speeds when the speed limit changes. Note in the screen shot linked below, Autopilot settings for “Relative” and “Absolute” Speed Limit. This suggests that the driver can choose “Relative” to keep the car’s speed at a speed which is relative to the current speed limit. That is, the car would change speed when the speed limit changes. But that is again a choice by the driver, who can also choose “Absolute”, which I guess means to keep the same speed set by the driver regardless of changes in the posted speed limit.

Please note this is not fact; it’s just my speculation based only on the labels seen in online posts of that and similar screen shots of the Model S display.


“Absolute” and “relative” is for the nag you can have the Model S post when you exceed the limit. AP definitely doesn’t auto-adjust speed, nor is it documented as doing so. (Source: first hand experience and Tesla docs.)


You can set the nag to 5 mph relative, and it will warn you every time you go 5 mph over the current limit. Or you can set it to 65 absolute, and it will warn you every time you go over 65, regardless of the current limit.

It has nothing to do with Tesla Autopilot/AutoSteer (which I have used).

It operates just like the cruise control you have likely used, you set a target speed. Just like any other adaptive cruise control, it will reduce speed as needed for traffic, but it will not reduce speed due to speed limit changes (nor can it detect signal lights – hence only use on freeways).

It’s a bit worse than a non-story.

Inside EVs reports that “the autopilot was speeding” when they quote DragTimes and don’t clear up that mistake.

The autopilot can’t speed… the driver tells it to speed.

But InsideEVs likes the drama better when it quotes people saying erroneous stuff.

Only a warning for the speeding. The ticket was for not having proof of insurance.

I am shocked and appalled at the number of people who are using Autosteer far beyond the conditions in which Tesla says it’s intended to operate.

This is intended for use only on freeways (limited access highways), with all traffic moving in the same direction, and the driver is supposed to remain alert and aware of traffic.

The driver (or non-driver) in this video starts out by using (misusing) Autosteer on a busy two-lane road/highway, and later when he’s on the freeway, he turns away from watching the road to talk to the camera and show his traffic tickets.

It’s interesting that this version of Autopilot is clearly labeled “(Beta)” on the Model S’s display screen. Was the software actually ready for wide release, beyond designated beta testers? I dunno. But from the discussion at the Tesla Motors Club forum, and from videos like this, it seems very clear that Model S drivers were not ready!

The level of irresponsibility displayed in endangering others on the road is, as I said, shocking and appalling.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Tesla reacts to this apparently widespread misuse of Autosteer.

You mean you haven’t heard about the “No more designated-driver” parties?

If Tesla doesn’t pull Autosteer until it can figure out some way to use software to limit its use to freeways, then it won’t be long before that is not a joke.

The problem as I see it lies with Tesla not providing an option of normal dumb cruise. So if like me you use cruise because you feel it is safer than constantly looking down at your speedometer you are likely to use the nearest alternative, which is traffic aware cruise control and auto steer even when conditions are inappropriate. It would not be hard for Tesla to provide dumb cruise control since on the stalk is a seven position switch for setting the time gap TACC (traffic aware cruise control) maintains to the vehicle in front. Instead of 1 to 7 that could be 0 to 6 with 0 being for dumb cruise control. Just a small software change is all that is required (up until now dumb cruise was the default for the base model anyway). Trouble is Tesla (or is it just Musk) wants us to use the new system so they can build the fleet intelligence which will improve autosteer, so little chance I’ll get the dumb cruise I crave.

Can you explain to me why you would rather have “dumb” cruise control in preference to TACC? Isn’t driving with TACC safer? I’ve seen reports on the Tesla Motors Forum that they appreciate having the automatic braking, and that it has been activated and worked as it should. But then, I’ve also seen “false positive” reports of it activating when there was no danger of collision.

I’d kinda like the dumb cruise option too, but only for the occasions when the sensors are occluded and the car refuses to engage TACC.

As for “the nearest alternative, which is traffic aware cruise control and auto steer”, that’s wrong of course — the nearest alternative is TACC without engaging autosteer, which you should know is still possible and indeed, is the default, double-default because to even have access to autosteer you have to enable it the option first.

Mark my words- Very soon, someone will be involved in a fatal accident due to an Autopilot-related issue.

But before then, I expect many reports of speeding tickets and fender benders. Eventually, some politician will make a big stink about it, and systems like these will be outlawed unless licensed by some government bureaucracy.

There were many similar predictions when “insane” mode debuted.

Here’s an idea, slow down! If the sign says 60 mph, then that means that the dot and a group of engineers smarter than me and you have decided that 60 mph is the maximum safe speed you should travel on that particular section of road. It’s not a minimum speed to drive, nor is it up to your interpretation to how much you can get away with. If the sign says 60 and traffic and weather conditions allow you to go that fast, set the cruise to 60. If you find that everybody is blowing by you, make your way over to the right lane and just chill like i do. I can’t tell you how many accidents ive seen and people getting tickets while im cruising along in the slow lane. Everybody needs to slow down! You’re not going to get there that much faster by speeding. Its not worth the ticket, the accident, or arriving at your destination all stressed out. It could be worse, remember when the national speed limit was 55 mph?

“remember when the national speed limit was 55 mph”

You’re unintentionally arguing against your own point – the 55MPH speed limit was arbitrary and pretty stupid, and unintentionally ‘taught’ drivers that a speed limit was arbitrary and political, rather than traffic/safety based.

I do Not disagree with your other sentiments, just pointing out that the ‘National 55MPH’ did more harm than good, with the notable exception of the Billboard lobby that helped keep it in place long after the populace treated it like a joke.

I’m hoping for driver assist technology that uses the left lane only to overtake slower traffic, not to remain there as this driver and most American drivers seem to do thereby forcing drivers who want to drive faster to change lanes and overtake on the right, a less safe alternative. Driving on European multilane highways is a much nicer and less chaotic experience. Maybe driver assist technology could train American drivers to be safer freeway drivers.

I am not so sure Construction Zones all the time list, or Place a Standard Sign to show the adjusted speed Limit, but All Drivers are expected to know that when traversing a construction zone, Normal Speed Limits are set aside for slower speeds to allow more reaction time in case of some obstacle / worker gets in the way!

But – at least he didn’t drive so fast as to run out of charge just 3 miles short of a Supercharger – which one guy in a MS – 60 admitted to – in the middle of winter – in the mountains: Driving 75 Mph because he was ‘allowed to’ by the posted speed limits, but left the town he was in which had a supercharger, and did not even top it off!!

Can we get it with an “Auto recognize law enforcement and warning” feature on those cameras?” 🙂

There is a chance that some of the close-call Autopilot videos have been reported to NHTSA, which will open an investigation, and might even be proactive and order Tesla to disable Autopilot while it conducts it’s investigation into the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot. Ever since the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis, and more so since the GM ignition switch scandal, NHTSA has been very proactive in addressing any driving safety issues that have emerged, lest they once again be accused and criticized of falling asleep at the wheel in performing their regulatory duties. Additionally, the VW emissions-test cheating scandal, has cast a pall over regulators willingness to accept a car manufacturer’s assurances that their vehicles meet regulatory requirements for emissions and safety.

Tesla and its Autopilot software might just become a superficial lamb on NHTSA’s altar. If Tesla Autopilot causes a traffic death, and NHTSA wasn’t proactive and did nothing to reign in Autopilot before it happened, the public outcry over NHTSA’s incompetence will be deafening.