Image: Tesla

Following a highly warranted investigation led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tesla has been prompted to disable a feature of its electric cars dubbed “Passenger Play” that allows owners to play video games while driving.

The government agency shared a statement today confirming that Tesla would be sending out a software update to disable the controversial perk. Elon Musk’s company was apparently shook by the NHTSA’s inquiries, as its decision to block the feature comes just one day after the agency confirmed that it would be opening an investigation into why the company was allowing an activity that would have kept a driver’s eyes off the road.

“Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play,’ Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature,” reads the NHTSA’s statement. “In a new software update, ‘Passenger Play’ will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion. The Agency maintains regular discussions with all manufacturers to discuss potential safety concerns of these systems, including Tesla’s response to our concerns about this feature.”

“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely,” the agency added. “NHTSA constantly assesses how manufacturers identify and safeguard against distraction hazards that may arise due to faults, misuse, or intended use of convenience technologies, including infotainment screens. We will continue to do so. NHTSA also reviews consumer complaints and a massive amount of data that companies are required to submit on a regular basis, looking for evidence of safety risks. If the data show that such a risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

NHTSA’s investigation into Tesla was partially prompted by a complaint that had been filed by an owner in Portland who discovered that he could play video games while the car was moving.

“Somebody’s going to get killed,” he said. “It’s absolutely insane.”

Source: NHTSA (via The Washington Post)

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5 Comments

  1. [QUOTE=”Nanobot, post: 45582, member: 73″]
    Has any organization established who is at fault if you are hit by a self-driving vehicle?
    [/QUOTE]
    Only the hanging chad truly knows.

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