California Man Caught Riding in the Back of Driverless Tesla Arrested
Following a call on social media to report similar incident to the law enforcement, a California man spotted traveling in the back seat of a driverless Tesla was arrested in the Bay Area on Monday night, authorities said.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the California Highway Patrol said Param Sharma was arrested on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer. The 25-year-old California man went home after spending the night in Santa Rita Jail.
According to The New York Times, the Highway Patrol said that the police officers responded at around 6:35 p.m. after 911 dispatchers received calls regarding a Tesla Model 3 traveling east on Interstate 80 across the Bay Bridge with no one in the driver's seat.
Based on the Highway Patrol report, one of their highway patrol officers at the bridge's toll plaza seen the Tesla with its sole passenger sitting in the back seat.
The officer from the Highway Patrol also saw the California man moved into the driver's seat while he was trying to pull the car over. Param Sharma then stopped the Tesla on the shoulder of Interstate 80, where he was arrested.
Param Sharma was booked into Santa Rita Jail in Alameda County, and the Tesla Model 3 was towed from the area where the California man was arrested. The said vehicle would be considered as evidence.
The New York Times asked Param Sharma for a comment on his case on Wednesday. However, he did not respond.
California Law for Self-Driving Cars Like Tesla
A Highway Patrol's spokesman, Officer John Fransen, said that it is illegal in the state of California for a self-driving vehicle to operate without a person behind the wheel.
He noted that they want the people to recognize that driving is an "immense responsibility." Fransen added that driving should not have distractions and it is not playing around with the technology.
After his release from jail, Sharma told the news station KTVU that his use of the Tesla car was not dangerous. The California man noted that he would not change his behavior after his arrest. He also said that he was just "gonna go in the back seat right now" as he waiting for his car to charge.
Meanwhile, a man who appears to be Sharma was seen on an Instagram video sitting in the back seat of a moving Tesla with his foot on the steering wheel.
The video was seemed to be posted on Tuesday on Sharma's Instagram with an account name "GoldCollarLavish." A device was also visible inside the vehicle that shows an article with the headline, "Man seen riding in the back of Tesla with no driver."
The arrested California man has praised the chief executive of Tesla, Elon Musk, saying he really knows what he's doing. He also told KTVU that he thinks people are tripping and they are just scared.
Before the Arrest of Param Sharma
Before the arrest, the Highway Patrol noted that residents of the Bay Area captured in a video someone who resembled Sharma using a driverless car in the same reckless manner.
The California man had been cited on April 27 for similar behavior by the Oakland area division of the agency, The New York Post reported.
WATCH: Tesla Owner Arrested After Being Caught 'Backseat Driving' - From Good Morning America
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