Police Share Photos of Smiling Man Riding in Backseat of Driverless Tesla

On May 8, the Golden Gate division of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) released photos of a person riding in one of Tesla's signature "self-driving" cars. In the photos, a dark-haired man wearing a baseball cap and a broad grin can be seen sitting on the left-hand side of the backseat, leaving the wheel unattended. While the CHP is investigating, the law enforcement organization stopped short of dubbing the man's behavior a crime, instead characterizing it as an "unusual incident" in a Facebook post.

"Safety for all who share our roadways is the primary concern of the CHP," they wrote.

In the same post, the CHP stated that the car was driving on "Bay Area roadways." They concluded by asking bystanders to report similar sightings by calling 911.

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On May 7, SFGATE reported that police weren't the only ones in possession of photographic evidence of the incident. Two days earlier, YouTuber Ingineerix had posted six seconds of footage that appear to depict the same man staring straight into the camera lens as the driver of a neighboring car records him.

Titling the clip "Another dumba** abusing Tesla AP," Ingineerix, who SFGATE described as a friend of the videographer, wrote: "To be clear; There is nothing wrong with Tesla AP. It's a driver assistance system that's being abused. It's no different than shifting your 2005 Honda Accord into D and climbing in the back seat, but the Tesla is a lot safer to do it in. The problem is the owner," they wrote.

In the caption, Ingineerix alleged that the man has a history of reckless vehicle operation. According to SFist, two other drivers had previously shared pictures online of what appears to be the same man pulling the same stunt. On April 17, according to SFGATE, a Tesla was involved in a crash in Texas that killed two people; no one was behind the wheel at the time of the accident.

Man in backseat of self-driving Tesla.
A man was photographed and filmed while he allegedly had his Tesla on autopilot. CHP - Golden Gate Division/Facebook