After going viral on social media over the weekend for ‘backseat driving’ his Tesla Model 3 in the Bay Area, 25-year-old Param Sharma did not do the sensible thing and lay low. Despite the California Highway Patrol saying it was aware of and investigating the videos and images, Sharma carried on, and even taunted the police via an Instagram post with the caption “Bitch tell the chp I bought my license”. The video was shot from the back of a Model 3, again with no one in the driver’s seat. An article about Sharma’s exploits can be seen on a screen inside the car.
With several 9-1-1 calls coming in on the evening of 10 May about a moving Model 3 with a vacant driver’s seat on the San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge, the car was tracked down and pulled over by an Oakland CHP officer. The occupant, confirmed to be Sharma, could be seen shuffling from the rear of the car into the driver’s seat. He was subsequently arrested and taken to Santa Rita Jail. He was charged with two counts of reckless driving and ‘disobeying a Peace Officer,’ and had his Tesla impounded.
This isn’t his first time either - he’d been cited by on 27 April “for similar behavior,” the CHP said. And don’t be surprised if he’ll end up being booked a third time - last night, he posted a video of himself, yet again with no one behind the wheel of a moving Model 3. He claimed to have “just got out of jail,” and gave the caption, “They threw away my last Tesla so I f—ked around and got another one.”
All of this comes just a few weeks on from authorities in Spring, Texas, reporting to have found no one in the driver’s seat of a Model S that had crashed into a tree, killing both occupants. Initial findings from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation confirmed via CCTV footage that the short journey had however started with a driver behind the wheel of the car.
The NTSB wasn’t able to fully use Autopilot along the road leading up to the accident site, but investigators were able to engage Traffic Aware Cruise Control. Thus far no explanation has been for the empty driver’s seat.