California police arrest Tesla driver who operated Model 3 from back seat

Highway patrol arrests Param Sharma for reckless driving on I-80 in the Bay Area

Police in California arrested the driver of a Tesla for allegedly operating the vehicle from the back seat.

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The California Highway Patrol said Wednesday it had arrested 25-year-old Param Sharma for reckless driving of a Tesla Inc. Model 3 on Interstate 80 in the Bay Area. Mr. Sharma couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Police said they had received 911 calls about the driver. The officer in Wednesday's arrest saw the driver, the lone occupant of the car, seated in the back seat, police said. Mr. Sharma moved to the driver's seat and stopped the car on the shoulder of the interstate, where he was arrested, the police said.

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Mr. Sharma was charged with two counts of reckless driving and disobeying an officer. He was cited with using his vehicle in a reckless manner also last month, the police said.

The incident is the latest to raise questions about how some drivers use the advanced driver-assistance features Tesla offers on its vehicles.

Tesla has said the driver-assistance system it calls Autopilot makes operating its vehicles safer. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has the power to issue safety recommendations, has previously expressed concerns that there aren't clear rules in the U.S. about how companies should ensure drivers pay attention when driver-assistance features are engaged.

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Tesla has said that drivers using Autopilot must remain attentive with their hands on the wheel and that it has safety features, including aural and visual alerts, to remind them to stay engaged.

Tesla is working on an enhanced version of its driver-assistance tools. Chief Executive Elon Musk on Wednesday tweeted that the company may put a test version of that software into wider release within the next two months.