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Tesla disables ‘Passenger Play’ video game in moving car

DETROIT – Under pressure from the US safe car governing body, Tesla agreed to stop allowing video games to be played on the central touchscreen while their vehicles were in motion.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the company will send software updates over the Internet, so a function called “Passenger Play” will be locked and inactive while the vehicles are in motion.

This move comes a day after the dealer announced it will open a formal investigation in distracted driving concerns about Tesla’s video games, some of which can be played while the car is being driven.

An agency spokesman said in a statement Thursday that the change comes after regulators discussed concerns about the system with Tesla. The first update went live on Wednesday as part of Tesla’s holiday software release, and the rest of the cars will get it today.

The statement says that NHTSA Regularly exchange information about the infotainment screen with all car manufacturers. A message was left on Thursday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations division.

The agency said its investigation into the Tesla feature will continue even if an update is available. It is unclear whether NHTSA will require Tesla to formally recall with the update. Previously, the agency asked Tesla why there was no need to do remember with safety related software updates.

“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects that pose an undue risk to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely,” NHTSA said in a statement. said. The agency said it evaluates how manufacturers identify and guard against distraction risks from misuse or purported use of screens and other convenient technology.

The agency announced Wednesday that it will officially investigate Tesla’s display after an owner from the Portland, Oregon area, filed a complaint when it discovered that a driver could play game while the car is moving.

The agency says the “Passenger Play” feature can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.

Probe covers about 580,000 Tesla Model WILL, X, Y and 3 from the sample year 2017 to 2022.

In a document detailing the investigation, NHTSA said “Passenger Play” has been around since December 2020. Before that, activating the game was only possible when their car was parked.

NHTSA documents do not list any accidents or injuries caused by the incident.

Tesla owner Vince Patton, 59, filed a complaint last month after discovering the gaming feature could be played by drivers. Patton, who loves his car and says he has nothing against Tesla, worries that drivers will play the game and become dangerously distracted. “Someone is going to be killed,” he said. “It’s completely insane.”

NHTSA is investigating why Tesla’s “Autopilot” partial autonomous driving system repeatedly crashes into stopped emergency vehicles. They are also reviewing the performance of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software after receiving complaints that it nearly caused a crash.

Tesla said both systems failed to drive the vehicle, and the driver had to be attentive and ready to intervene at all times.

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