Tesla disables video games on moving cars after US safety probe

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

American electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla will no longer allow video games to be played on car screens while the vehicles are in motion, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said.

The NHTSA had announced it had launched an investigation into some 580,000 Tesla cars after the automaker’s decision to allow drivers to play on the entertainment system’s touch screen while the vehicle was moving.

According to the NHTSA, this feature, known as “Passenger Play,” may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.

“Tesla has informed the NHTSA that a software update will lock the “Passenger Play” feature and make it unusable when the vehicle is in motion,” a spokesperson for the agency said in a statement.

“The 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,” the agency said. Tesla has not responded regarding the matter.

Safety advocates have raised concerns that drivers may not pay attention on the road, especially when Tesla vehicles are operating in a semi-autonomous mode known as Autopilot.

“A driver’s distraction – likely from a phone game application – was one of the causes of a fatal crash of a Tesla car operating in Autopilot in California in 2018,” according to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board.

In August, the NHTSA opened a safety investigation on 765,000 Tesla vehicles over its Autopilot system after a series of crashes involving the system and parked emergency vehicles.

Related: Tesla’s Cybertruck will have high-end four-motor version; Elon Musk