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Tesla is being investigated for allowing drivers to play video games while driving

The company recently added new games to its Tesla Arcade, so the timing really couldn’t be any better.

tesla vehicle playing sonic the hedgehog
Image: KnowTechie

Last updated on July 18th, 2022 at 04:25 pm

UPDATE 12/24/2021 2:14 PM ET: Tesla is killing off the feature that lets drivers play video games while driving. The feature will be phased out in a new software update. Read more here. The original story follows below.

Well, it’s official. The US government is investigating Tesla over its car’s video games. However, the investigation doesn’t focus on the games themselves but on how they are played, specifically when the car is in motion. 

Earlier this month, we covered a story based on a New York Times report that showed us how the center console could be used to play games by the driver, even if the vehicle is in motion. This obviously ruffled some feathers at the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

The NHTSA is looking into Tesla models sold between 2017 and 2022 that feature this functionality. This Passenger Play feature covers about 580,000 Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y EVs.

The investigation will focus on the impact of Passenger Play on drivers and evaluate scenarios where a driver may interact with the feature. According to the NHTSA, this capability could “distract drivers and increase the risk of a crash.”

Tesla pushed out passenger Play to users sometime in December 2020. Previously, drivers or passengers could only play these while the car was parked. Now, even if the car is moving, some games are completely playable. However, a warning pops up on the screen that warns, “playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers.” But this is a warning that is easy to get around. 

READ MORE: Steam games will be available on Tesla cars soon, says Elon Musk

Now, are drivers actually playing these games while they’re driving? It isn’t very likely. But still, I can’t entirely agree that this should be functional when the car is in motion.

It will be interesting to see the conclusion of this NHTSA investigation. Unfortunately, Tesla hasn’t commented on the matter yet, and they probably won’t since the company axed its public relations department. But if we hear anything, we’ll keep you updated. 

UPDATE 12/24/2021 2:14 PM ET: Tesla is killing off the feature that lets drivers play video games while driving. The feature will be phased out in a new software update.

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