Tesla Owner Arrested for Reckless Driving After He Sat in Backseat While Car Was Driving on Autopilot
Param Sharma, 25, spent the night in jail and his Tesla was impounded for a year, but he went right out and bought another one.
A Tesla owner has been arrested for reckless driving after he was spotted in the backseat while the car’s autopilot was on — a feature Tesla says is not supposed to be used without someone behind the wheel. Param Sharma, 25, spent the night in jail and his Tesla was impounded for a year, but he went right out and bought another one.
“If you are using it properly on roads that autopilot was designed to be used on, it is definitely not reckless. It is safe,” Sharma said.
Sharma says he’s been a backseat Tesla driver since 2018, but he recently drew attention to himself with posts on social media staring at passing cars from the backseat of his driverless car.
Dozens of crashes involving Tesla’s autopilot are under investigation, but that doesn’t faze him.
The Tesla autopilot is not supposed to operate without someone in the driver's seat, but Sharma says he overrides the controls by keeping the seat belt bucked and the door closed and climbing out of the seat.
“If you just take the belt off and you put the belt back on without it on your body, it actually tricks the autopilot into thinking there's a human there,” Sharma said.
Tesla drivers post videos doing all sorts of things, including playing games, eating snacks, taking naps with their feet dangling out of the window, but usually all from the driver's seat — until now.
Sharma came close to being nabbed again by San Francisco cops during our interview. He quickly clambered back into the driver’s seat, which is right where he belongs.
Sharma claims he's driven 40,000 miles on California highways in Teslas — mostly from the back seat. He’s due in court in July.
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