A man in the driver's seat of a Tesla who switched to an autopilot and switched to his passenger seat was suspended from driving for 18 months
Bhavesh Patel, 39, said his car should have continued on a main highway in Hemel Hempstead, England when a passenger in another vehicle noticed that nobody was sitting in the driver's seat. The witness continued to film the incident and post it on social media, reports The Independent.
Other people who witnessed the event estimated that his Tesla S 60 was around 40mph during the autopilot. Shortly after the incident surfaced on social media in May 2017, local police were notified.
Patel was then interviewed at the Stevenage Police Station, at which time he admitted what he was doing and said that it was "silly" doing the same thing, but he happened to be the "unfortunate man who got caught."
He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on April 20. Patel will also be required to do 100 hours of community service and pay 2400 dollars to the Crown Prosecution Service in addition to a temporary driving ban, the BBC reports.
"What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could easily have ended in tragedy," said investigator PC Kirk Caldicutt of the Hertfordshire Police. "He not only endangered his own life, but also the lives of other innocent people who used the highway that day."
Caldicutt also said that Patel's case should serve as an example of what one should not do behind the wheel.
On Friday, a similar incident by model and actress Hari Nef was posted to Instagram on BuzzFeed. The video, which is no longer posted on her profile, shows the model Jacob Bixenman, who drives a Tesla with both hands on his cell phone along the highway, not the wheel. The wheel seems to adapt as the car drives down the highway.