Electric carmaker Tesla will stop playing video games on vehicle screens while its cars are driving, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday.
The move follows an announcement by the NHTSA on Wednesday that it has opened a formal safety investigation into 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 following the automaker’s decision to allow games to be played on the front-center touchscreen while playing. be in motion.
Also called “Passenger Play,” this functionality can distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash, the NHTSA said.
Tesla has informed the NHTSA that a software update will lock and disable the “Passenger Play” feature when the vehicle is in motion, an agency spokesperson said in a statement.
“The NHTSA is continuously assessing how manufacturers identify and protect distraction hazards that can arise as a result of errors, misuse or intended use of convenience technologies, including infotainment screens,” the agency said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.
Safety advocates have expressed concern that drivers may not pay attention on the road, especially when Tesla vehicles operate in semi-autonomous mode known as Autopilot.
According to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, a driver’s distraction — likely due to a phone game application — was one of the causes of a fatal crash involving a Tesla car running on Autopilot in California in 2018.
The NHTSA opened a safety investigation into 765,000 Tesla vehicles through the Autopilot system in August after a series of crashes involving the system and parked emergency vehicles.
© Thomson Reuters 2021