The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into a gameplay function available in certain Teslas from model years 2017 to 2022 that allows drivers to play on the front center touchscreen even when the vehicle is in motion, the latest safety probe to be raised against the electric car behemoth.
An Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) document posted to the agency’s website Wednesday states that the “Passenger Play” function “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.”
The NHTSA confirmed that the gaming had been available in “Passenger Play”-enabled Teslas since December 2020, and that the investigation is looking into 580,000 Model 3, S, X, and Y vehicles.
Before that, the agency said gameplay was only enabled when the car was in park.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.
3,142. That’s how many people died in 2019 because of distracted driver incidents, according to the NHTSA. According to the investigation document no crashes, injuries or fatalities have so far been reported in connection with the “Passenger Play” issue.
The preliminary evaluation comes after the regulator said it had started looking into the gaming feature earlier this month and was “discussing the feature with the manufacturer” following a New York Times investigation. According to the investigation document, the ODI received one owner complaint about the issue filed last month by a Tesla owner in Oregon that read: “Creating a dangerous distraction for the driver is recklessly negligent.” It’s not the first time Tesla has been criticized for the safety of its models, especially its autopilot function. Just last month the company recalled 12,000 vehicles because of a communication issue in its software that could “cause a false forward-collision warning or unexpected activation of the emergency brakes,” per Reuters.
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