Man arrested in California while riding in back of driverless Tesla

More On:


Tesla stock falls after Elon Musk tweets self-driving rollout may take months

Union sets sights on Tesla’s German factory

Tesla’s bitcoin holdings rise to nearly $2.5 billion

Tesla’s bitcoin gambit gave it a $100M boost in the first quarter

No one likes a backseat driver.

A California motorist was charged with reckless driving after being spotted in the backseat of a Tesla on a busy highway, authorities said.

Param Sharma, 25, was busted Monday as he cruised along Interstate 80 in the San Francisco Bay Area in the back of his Tesla Model 3, the California Highway Patrol announced Tuesday.

Authorities said multiple people called 911 to report seeing someone seated in the backseat of the luxury electric car, without anyone behind the wheel, as it drove across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge towards Oakland.

The speed limit on the bridge is 50 mph.

“Once the enforcement stop was initiated, that’s when he repositioned himself from the backseat to the driver’s seat,” CHP Officer John Fransen told The Post.

Sharma was arrested on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer. The Tesla was towed from the scene for evidence in the ongoing investigation, authorities said.

A message seeking comment from the automaker was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The company’s website says both its autopilot and “full self-driving” modes are not completely autonomous, but Tesla is allowing a limited number of owners to test the self-driving system.

However, it’s unclear if Sharma is one of those customers, the Associated Press reported.

Use of the autopilot mode has been linked to at least three deaths across the country since 2016. Two Texas men also died in a crash in April involving a self-driving Tesla Model S, but company CEO Elon Musk denied on Twitter that autopilot was enabled at the time.

Consumer Reports announced in April that its engineers managed to operate a Tesla Model Y without someone in the driver’s seat — but the system also failed to send out a warning that the seat was empty, according to the report.

“In our evaluation, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention, but it also couldn’t tell if there was a driver there at all,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ auto testing.

Meanwhile, cops are also looking into a previous citation Sharma received for backseat driving.

“Prior to this arrest, members of the public had captured video of someone resembling Sharma operating his vehicle in the same reckless manner, and the CHP’s Oakland Area had cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behavior,” the agency said in a statement.

Fransen told The Post Wednesday he was trying to obtain additional details about the earlier incident. It was not immediately clear what Sharma had been cited for, he said.

Still, Sharma, who spent a night in jail following his arrest, is undeterred.

“I’m gonna go in the backseat right now,” Sharma told KTVU. “You feel me? I’m waiting for my car to charge.” 

Share this article:

Source: Read Full Article