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Indian American Motorist Arrested for Riding in Backseat

Param Sharma, 25 said riding in the backseat isn’t dangerous


Param Sharma,25


OAKLAND, CA — An Indian American motorist was arrested, and later released, after an officer observed him in the backseat of a Tesla traveling on a San Francisco Bay Area freeway, the California Highway Patrol said.

Param Sharma, 25, was arrested for alleged reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer, the highway patrol said in a statement May 11.

Multiple 911 calls on May 10 evening reported a person seated in the backseat of a Tesla Model 3 without anyone in the driver’s seat while the vehicle traveled on Interstate 80 across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

A highway patrol motorcycle officer spotted the Tesla, confirmed the solo occupant was in the backseat, took action to stop the car and saw the occupant move to the driver’s seat before the car stopped, said the statement from the highway patrol, known as CHP.

“Prior to this arrest, members of the public had captured video of someone resembling Sharma operating his vehicle in the same reckless manner, and the CHP’s Oakland Area had cited Sharma on April 27 for similar behavior,” the statement said.

Sharma was released from Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail on May 11.

Sharma said in an interview that riding in the backseat isn’t dangerous and he will continue to do so.

He said in the report that his antics behind the wheel are not to show off, but to show self-driving vehicles are not only the future but the present as well.

Sharma’s comments suggest he is among a number of Tesla drivers who rely too much on the company’s driving systems, Cummings said.

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