Tesla Driver Caught Sitting In Passenger Seat With Autopilot Engaged

Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images) /

The Tesla Autopilot semi-autonomous driving feature requires you to be ready to take control of the car at all times. A Model S driver in England decided he didn’t need to follow those instructions. Police found him riding along in the passenger seat.

Tesla’s Autopilot feature is one of the more advanced semi-autonomous driving modes out there. The California company still urges its customers to pay attention when they engage the technology. Autopilot isn’t foolproof. It can’t drive the car 100 percent yet. Bhavesh Patel of Nottingham, England, must not believe Tesla really means it.

CarBuzz noted that Patel said his antics were “silly” but that no other drivers were in danger. The police, and later the courts, disagreed with Patel. He will now have to pay the price. The courts determined Patel would do 100 hours of unpaid community service, pay a fine, and go without his license for 18 months.

Tesla Model S on a showroom floor
Tesla Model S on a showroom floor /

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Patel Isn’t the Only Dangerous Tesla Driver

According to CarBuzz, Patel said he was just unlucky. According to him, other Tesla drivers do the same thing. The publication noted there are numerous social media posts that show owners incorrectly, and often dangerously, using the Autopilot feature of their cars. That’s somewhat disturbing news. The company designed Autopilot to reduce the dangers of driving in a car. Tesla said an independent review performed by the U.S. government actually found Autopilot reduces accidents rates by 40 percent, reported Techcrunch.

Tesla Autopilot
Tesla Autopilot /

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)There have been fatal crashes that involved the companies Autopilot. In March of 2018, a man was driving his Model X with Autopilot engaged and struck a concrete median. He was rushed to the hospital but later died of his injuries. In that case, the driver’s autopilot system provided multiple warnings, according to Tesla.

Next: Subaru Admits to Tampering with Emissions Data

With the death of one Tesla driver still fresh on many people’s minds, and Patel’s sentence of community service, fines, and suspension of his license, hopefully, other Model S, X and 3 drivers will use Autopilot as Tesla intended.