There are times when you just need to sit back, relax, and watch other people driving, regardless of the cost. A 39 year old Brit was recently prosecuted for having allowed his Tesla to drive on auto-pilot on the motorway, while he relaxed in the passenger seat.
Leaving your car on “automatic” mode is allowed. However, leaving it drive while you are in the passenger seat is strictly forbidden. A few months ago, Bhavesh Patel set his Tesla to auto-pilot, and got into the passenger seat to rest his legs. Hands behind his head and feet up, he was spotted alone in the vehicle, driving at almost 70 km/h on the M1, one of the busiest motorways in Great Britain, which extends 311 kilometers between London and Leeds. Unfortunately for the “driver”, he was caught on film.
Bhavesh Patel was arrested for dangerous driving, as reported by the BBC News, after the video was published on social networks. Interviewed later by the police, he admitted to having done something “silly”, while at the same time noting that the Tesla was capable of something “amazing” and that he was “unlucky” to have been caught. Naturally, the authorities saw the situation a little differently.
“He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway on that day”, said a representative of the Hertfordshire police. “What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy.”
As a reminder, the Tesla Model S is not a fully self-driving car, but has a driving assistance mode which requires the driver to be ever-ready to take back control of driving the car. The man is now banned from driving on British motorways for 18 months, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.