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Tesla Driver Switches to Autopilot, Losses License


Gross misuse of your car’s autopilot function can cost you dearly! This is what happened in the case of Bhavesh Patel who moved from his driver’s seat after putting his car on ‘autopilot’ letting go of the foot and steering wheel controls.

The court banned him from driving for 18 months in addition to making him do voluntary work for 100 hours and also a 10 day round of rehabilitation. A payment of 1,800 pounds as costs had to be made by him to the Crown Prosecution Service too.

The 39-year-old Bhavesh Patel was caught in the act by a passing motorist who noticed the empty driver seat and the car, a white Tesla S 60 cruising at a speed of about 40mph on the motorway close to Hemel Hempstead. The shocking image was uploaded on social media before bringing it to the attention of the police.

 Patel who resided on Alfreton Road in the area of Nottingham admitted to irresponsible driving and pleaded guilty when he was produced at St Albans Crown Court. Patel disclosed that his car belonged to the ‘amazing’ category of cars but acknowledged that his act was indeed a silly one. He further stated that he happened to be just unfortunate to have been caught. An engineer from Tesla clarified to the investigators that the aim of the autopilot function was to assist a driver who was totally attentive on the road and not to act as his substitute.

One of the policemen from road policing unit of Hertfordshire stated that Patel’s act could have had tragic consequences. Other motorist’s lives besides his own could have been endangered on that day. He expected that the period of disqualification would entail some introspection on the part of Bhavesh Patel and that his sentence would act as a deterrent to other motorists thinking along the same lines.

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