Tesla Backs Down From In-Car Gaming After Countless Complaints

Following the introduction of an NHTSA investigation, Tesla will deactivate Gaming features while its cars are in motion, according to the agency.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it will begin an inquiry into Tesla’s “Passenger Play” capabilities. The feature, “including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla Passenger Play,” will be investigated in the probe affecting over 580,000 Tesla vehicles.

Only two weeks after the NHTSA said it was “discussing the feature with the manufacturer” in order to gather any information or evidence that Tesla’s in-car video games are a violation of the Vehicle Safety Act, news of this investigation emerged.

The NTHSA explained:

“Safety is central to NHTSA’s mission and we are committed to improving safety for all road users. Distraction-affected crashes are a concern, particularly in vehicles equipped with an array of convenience technologies such as entertainment screens. We are aware of driver concerns and are discussing the feature with the manufacturer”

The NHTSA has told Teslarati the following:

“Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s “Passenger Play,” Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature. In a new software update, “Passenger Play” will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion. The Agency maintains regular discussions with all manufacturers to discuss potential safety concerns of these systems, including Tesla’s response to our concerns about this feature.

The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely. NHTSA constantly assesses how manufacturers identify and safeguard against distraction hazards that may arise due to faults, misuse, or intended use of convenience technologies, including infotainment screens. We will continue to do so.  NHTSA also reviews consumer complaints and a massive amount of data that companies are required to submit on a regular basis, looking for evidence of safety risks. If the data show that such a risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

Tesla has disabled the ability to play Tesla Arcade games while driving. Previously, games were available while the driver was operating the vehicle, but they were only accessible by the passenger. The games, on the other hand, might be a slight distraction, perhaps accounting for why Tesla decided to shut off the option.

The NHTSA has not finished its preliminary evaluation, which is why it’s still working with Tesla to gather more data on the features.

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