A day after he was arrested – and his car was confiscated by police – San Francisco’s back seat Tesla driver is daring the law to catch him again.
A Tesla driver in California – who was arrested twice in the space of four weeks for ‘driving’ on a freeway while sitting in the back seat of his car as it was operating in autonomous mode – is up to his old tricks.
A day after he was arrested, 25-year-old Param Sharma allegedly bought another Tesla Model 3 – because his earlier one had been impounded – and uploaded video of himself performing the same daring stunt on public roads.
A TV interview in the US shows a defiant Param Sharma refusing to obey the law, after he uploaded a new video on his social media account soon after being released.
“I just got out of jail, I already got (another) Tesla,” says Sharma. “It’s actually very normal for me to sit in the back. When I sit in the back seat, it’s like a magical experience … to see self driving cars finally work.”
When asked by a reporter for NBC Bay Area TV if Sharma was worried about going back to jail, he responded: “I don’t think you can go to jail man, like, it’s not really that serious because I’m not really breaking any laws, I’m not dangerously operating the car.”
However, California authorities say the rules require the driver to be sitting behind the steering wheel and in control.
And national road safety authorities in the US are currently investigating 23 serious crashes suspected of being used in auto pilot at the time of their incidents.
NBC Bay Area TV told viewers: “To be very clear, this is very illegal and if you see (Sharma) on the road in the back seat, the (highway patrol) says give them a call.”
A week after the incident, Tesla remains conspicuously silent about any possible remedial “over the air” upgrades it might install in its cars to prevent drivers from taking such risks in future.
Last month, two occupants of a Tesla were killed in a crash in Texas after the driver reportedly was found in the back seat.
Last week, highway patrol officers in California arrested Sharma for “reckless driving of a Tesla while in the back seat” and seized his car for an undisclosed period of time (pictured below).
Other motorists had called 911 to report seeing the vehicle on a freeway with a sole occupant in the back seat.
Highway patrol officers from the San Francisco Bay Area responded to reports from other motorists and stopped the vehicle.
A statement on the California Highway Patrol Oakland division Facebook page last week said: “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.”
Driver busted in the back seat of a Tesla is up to his old tricks after leaving jail