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Tesla Model 3 backseat driver arrested by CHP

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It’s Tesla owners like this 25-year-old guy who hurt Tesla’s mission of sustainable transportation and the Full Self-Driving (FSD) dream of Elon Musk and his software and AI development teams. This guy was spotted sitting in the backseat of his Tesla Model 3 while the car drove on Autopilot during the weekend.

California residents informed the police of the incident and took a couple of pictures that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) posted on its official Facebook page.

Side-by-side photos of the Tesla Model 3 without the driver (left) and the driver sitting in the backseat (right). Photo by CHP – Golden Gate Division / Facebook.
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The guy named Param Sharma who appears to be a resident of California was arrested by the CHP on highway Interstate 80 (I-80) in the Bay Area.

Mr. Param was still driving his Tesla Model 3 on Autopilot while recklessly enjoying the autonomous drive in the backseat of the car. This behavior is strictly not allowed by law or even by Tesla as the provider of the self-driving software.

Although a Tesla vehicle has multiple checks for assuring if there is a person sitting and attentive in the driver’s seat. However, the system checks can be cheated using various illegal tricks to mimic a person’s presence in the driver’s seat (demonstrated by Consumer Reports in a video).

CHP has confirmed the arrest of this person and he’s been booked into Santa Rita Jail for two counts of reckless driving. CHP posted the following picture and info related to this incident in a Facebook post.

CHP Patrol officer getting the involved Tesla Model 3 onto the tow truck. Photo by CHP – Golden Gate Division / Facebook.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) today announced it has arrested 25-year-old Param Sharma for reckless driving of a Tesla while in the backseat on Interstate 80 (I-80) in the Bay Area. Sharma was arrested without incident and booked into Santa Rita Jail on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a Peace Officer. The Tesla was towed from the scene for evidence and this incident remains under investigation.

On May 10 at approximately 6:34 p.m., the CHP’s Golden Gate Division Communications Center received multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding an individual seated in the backseat of a Tesla Model 3 without anyone seated in the driver’s seat. The vehicle was reported to be traveling eastbound on I-80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward the city of Oakland.

An Oakland CHP motor officer at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza located the Tesla confirmed that a single occupant was seated in the backseat, and initiated an enforcement stop. The officer observed the individual move into the driver’s seat. The occupant then brought the Tesla to a stop on the shoulder of I-80 eastbound just west of Powell Street, where the officer arrested Sharma.

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 safety of all who share our roadways is the primary concern of the CHP. The Department thanks the public for providing valuable information that aided in this investigation and arrest.

The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

California Highway Patrol via Facebook

Related: Watch how Tesla Autopilot handles ‘no driver in seat’ | Tesla driver filming from the passenger seat (video)

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By Iqtidar Ali

Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

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