On Monday the California Highway Patrol (CHP) arrested 25-year-old Param Sharma after he was seen riding in the back of his Tesla Model 3 with no one in the driver’s seat.
He was spotted travelling eastbound on I-80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward the city of Oakland, and the incident was reported to CHP via numerous 9-1-1 calls.
This was Sharma’s first arrest, but terrifyingly not his first time dangerously relying on the Autopilot to drive the car.
The CHP’s Oakland Area had cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behavior.
The CHP had also posted on Saturday two photos on its Facebook page showing a – then – unidentified man riding in the back seat of a Tesla with an empty driver’s seat.
And if his smile in this photo doesn’t enrage you enough, perhaps his posts on Instagram will.
Apparently, Sharma not only thinks that repeating this stunt is really cool, but he also likes flaunting it to the police – and to everyone else for that matter.
To be honest, I’m not sure what is more dangerous: his foolish ignorance of the threat he’s posing to himself and to others, or that promoting such reckless driving could turn into more of a trend than it is already.
To make things even worse, his exclusive interview to Fox KTUV after his release on Tuesday evening revealed his blind trust in the Autopilot technology.
“I’ve been brake-checked before really hard, and the car stopped. The car came to a complete stop. Elon Musk really knows what he’s doing and I think people are tripping and they’re scared,” he said.
He added that he doesn’t intend to change his ways whatsoever and he even taunted the police by saying that we would return home from jail in the back seat of his Tesla.
Sharma is due back in court on July 6, but that’s not the most important point here.
What his actions really show is that some people are deeply misinformed on what constitutes fully autonomous driving. Misunderstanding a vehicle’s capabilities endangers not just the driver, but other road users too. And they didn’t ask to be part of an experiment.
Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up?
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