Tesla will deactivate Gaming features while its vehicles are in motion following the launch of an NHTSA probe into the feature, the agency confirmed on Thursday.
Yesterday, the NHTSA announced that it would launch a probe investigating the “Passenger Play” features within a Tesla. The probe, affecting over 580,000 Tesla vehicles, will look into the aspects of the feature, “including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla Passenger Play,” it said.
The probe was announced just two weeks after the NHTSA said in a statement on December 8th that it was “discussing the feature with the manufacturer,” attempting to gather any information or evidence that Tesla’s in-car video games are a violation of the Vehicle Safety Act. “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 NTHSA said.
Now, the NHTSA has told Teslarati in a statement that Tesla has agreed to halt the in-car gaming system in its vehicles while the car is in motion:
“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 Arcade games will now only be activated while the car is parked. Previously, games were accessible while the driver was operating the car, but games were only playable by the passenger. However, the games could be a bit of a distraction, which may have been the key reason that Tesla chose to disable the feature.
The NHTSA still is working on concluding its preliminary evaluation as it works with Tesla to gather more information on the capabilities.