US auto safety regulators said on Wednesday that they have started a formal safety investigation into the 580,000 Tesla electric vehicles sold since 2017, Reuters news agency reported. Under this, the new gaming feature provided by the company will be investigated to allow playing games on the front center touchscreen.
The country’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said their initial investigation involved 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, Model S, Mode X and Model Y vehicles. The feature, known as “Passenger Play”, could “distract the driver’s attention and increase the risk of an accident,” the agency said.
As we mentioned, this gaming feature was added this summer, wherein passengers can play multiple games on the center touchscreen display of the car. These include Solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded and The Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise Games. This game is released for all Tesla owners. Note, however, that while the Tesla car is on the road, there is a warning at the beginning of the game that “This game is for everyone, but only passengers can play it while the car is moving.”
After this, the game begins only when the player accepts it as a passenger. But still, it’s also possible for the driver to play it after the passenger starts the game. In such a situation, the chances of an accident can increase significantly.
Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, says if the game is played in front of a driver, it can certainly distract him.