US opens probe into Tesla letting drivers play video games
Athens, Ohio — The U.S. has opened a formal investigation into Tesla allowing drivers to play video games on a center touch screen while its vehicles are moving.
The probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers about 580,000 electric cars and SUVs from model years 2017 through 2022.
It comes after the agency received a complaint that Teslas equipped with “gameplay functionality” allow gaming to be enabled on the screens while vehicles are being driven.
In a document posted Wednesday on its website, the agency says the feature called “Passenger Play” may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.
The agency's Office of Defects Investigation said in the document that the game capability has been available since December of 2020. Before that date, the games could only be played while the Teslas were in park.
The probe, which covers all four Tesla models, the S, X, Y and 3, was opened “to evaluate the driver distraction potential of Tesla ‘Passenger Play’ while the vehicle is being driven.” Investigators "will evaluate aspects of the feature, including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla “Passenger Play.”
An investigation can lead to a recall. A message was left early Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department.