Arrested Tesla Driver Boasts About Riding in Back Seat While on Autopilot

A man who was arrested for riding in the back of a self-driving Tesla has boasted about his actions and filmed himself doing it again after his release.

The California Highway Patrol arrested Param Sharma, 25, on Monday evening when he was traveling on the I-80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toward Oakland, as reported by KTVU. Sharma was allegedly in the back seat of the Tesla while nobody was behind the wheel, breaking California law.

The highway patrol said an Oakland CHP motor officer at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza saw the Tesla and initiated an enforcement stop. Authorities say Sharma moved into the driver's seat and brought the Tesla to a halt before being arrested.

The authorities have said he was cited on April 27 for similar behavior.

On Saturday, the Golden Gate division of the CHP released photos of a man resembling Sharma in the back of the self-driving car. It urged members of the public who spot this kind of behavior to call 911, saying: "Safety for all who share our roadways is the primary concern of the CHP."

Sharma was arrested on Monday on two counts of reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer. He spent the night in Santa Rita jail in Alameda County. However, he was not phased by his arrest and, after leaving jail on Tuesday, he told KTVU: "I'm gonna go in the back seat right now. You feel me? I'm waiting for my car to charge."

He also told the local TV station that he had traveled 40,000 miles on Bay Area roadways over the past few years, sometimes in Teslas with tinted back windows.

He is adamant that his behavior is safe, telling KTVU: "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."

Sharma later posted a video to his Instagram account @GoldCollarLavish showing himself riding in the back of the car, again with no driver. He swings the camera round to show the seat-back screen, which is displaying an article with the headline "Man seen riding in the back seat of Tesla with no driver."

Sharma captioned his Instagram post: "Bitch tell the chp I bought my license."

He has also shared a screenshot of an article about the incident with the caption: "I came outta the pandemic in a self-driving car U blue collar peasants can't understand my life." Another video from the back seat is captioned: "Elon blue collaring for me."

Sharma is due back in court on July 6.

Tesla self driving car
The Tesla Model 3 car is fitted with a full self-driving system. A man has boasted about riding in the back seat of a self driving car after being arrested. Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty