A motorist who was spotted in the back seat of his Tesla as it travelled down a San Francisco Bay Area freeway has been arrested for reckless driving.
California Highway Patrol said Param Sharma, 25, has also been cited for disobeying an officer.
Police were alerted after receiving a number of calls describing a person seated in the backseat of a Tesla Model 3 without anyone in the driver’s seat while travelling on Interstate 80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
A motorcycle officer spotted the Tesla, confirmed the only occupant was in the backseat, took action to stop the car and saw the person inside move to the driver’s seat before coming to a halt.
Authorities said they cited Sharma, of San Francisco, on 27 April for a similar offence.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Sharma said he did nothing wrong, and he will keep riding in the back seat with no one behind the steering wheel.
“It was actually designed to be ridden in the back seat,” Sharma said.
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“I feel safer in the back seat than I do in the driver’s seat, and I feel safer with my car on Autopilot, I trust my car Autopilot more than I trust everyone on the road.”
He believes his Model 3 can drive itself, and does not understand why he had to spend a night in jail.
He said he started riding in the back seat of autonomously driving Tesla vehicles in 2018 and has gone about 40,000 miles without being in the driver’s seat.