NHTSA investigating 580,000 Tesla cars for allowing drivers to play games when the car is moving [UPDATE]

[UPDATE] That was quick. Tesla has announced it will remove the “Passenger Play” function that allows drivers to play video games on the center screen even when the vehicle is moving.

It was only a couple of weeks ago when the Mercedes EQS was recalled in the United States due to the TV function still working while the car was moving and now Tesla is in hot waters for a similar problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating no fewer than 580,000 cars sold between the 2017 and 2022 model years that are equipped with a Passenger Play function.

Playing video games on a Tesla’s center screen is not a novelty as it was originally introduced back in 2019. However, new evidence has surfaced about drivers being able to play video games even when the car is in motion. To no one’s surprise, the NHTSA is having a closer look at what could pose a real threat since it “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.”

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Image provided by Tesla Inc.

NHTSA claims Tesla owners have been able to use the center screen to play games since December 2020 even if the vehicle was being driven. Before that date, Passenger Play only worked when the car was in park. Even though the infotainment asks the player to confirm the game will be played from the front passenger seat, the driver can simply tap the screen and start the video game.

The estimated number of vehicles impacts all four cars sold by Tesla: Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X. Only one complaint has been filed with the NHTSA, which turned out to be enough to start an investigation. According to The New York Times, retiree Vince Patton from Oregon filed a complaint with the NHTSA after discovering he was still able to play Solitaire on his Model 3’s center screen even while driving the car. Speaking with The Times, he said: “I’m astonished. To me, it just seems inherently dangerous.”

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Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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