U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigating Tesla over ‘Passenger Play’ [Update]

Tesla vehicles offer three playable games while the car is in motion

Update 23/12/2021 4:54pm ET: The Guardian reports that in response to the NHTSA’s investigation, Tesla will disable ‘Passenger Play.’

The original story is below:

Earlier this month, a New York Times report cited concern regarding how Tesla car owners can play games while the car is in motion.

While Tesla EVs offer more than 20 games available to play when parked, the vehicles provide only three when the car is in motion: Solitare, a jet fighting title called Sky Force Reloaded and a strategy game, Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise.

It’s pretty evident that these games are for the passenger’s leisure and not for the vehicle’s driver. However, you can’t stop dumb drivers?

Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency of the U.S. federal government, is investigating Tesla over r the “Passenger Play” feature.

According to the NHTSA, the vehicles in question include 580,000 (estimated) 2017-2022 Model 3, S, X, Y vehicles equipped with “Passenger Play.” It’s worth noting that when a Tesla passenger starts a game, it displays the following warning:

“Solitaire is a game for everyone, but playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers.” The game also plays on the right side of the screen instead of being full screen, so it’s closer to the passenger. The NHTSA’s investigation doesn’t necessarily focus on the risk of drivers playing the games but more on the fact that “Passenger Play may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.”

NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation says that it will “evaluate aspects of the feature, including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla Passenger Play” to judge whether the feature has the potential to distract drivers while on the road or not.

It’s also worth noting is that in some parts of Canada, distracted driving fatalities have surpassed those caused by impaired driving.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration