Tesla in-vehicle gaming feature under investigation by NHTSA

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WASHINGTON — U.S auto safety regulators said Wednesday they have opened a formal safety investigation into 580,000 Tesla Inc. vehicles sold since 2017 over the automaker’s decision to allow games to be played on the front center touchscreen.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said its preliminary evaluation covers various 2017-2022 model year Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y vehicles. This functionality, referred to as “Passenger Play,” “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash,” the agency said.

NHTSA said it has “confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 in Tesla ‘Passenger Play’-equipped vehicles.” Before then, the game feature “was enabled only when the vehicle was in Park.”

The New York Times reported the safety issues surrounding the gaming feature earlier this month.

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