NHTSA takes a look at Tesla video games that can be played on the move

The federal government’s main auto safety regulator said on Wednesday it had started reviewing a new feature in Tesla cars allow drivers...


The federal government’s main auto safety regulator said on Wednesday it had started reviewing a new feature in Tesla cars allow drivers to play video games on a large touchscreen as vehicles move.

“We are aware of the concerns of drivers and are discussing the functionality with the manufacturer,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement.

The video game functionality was included in a Tesla software update released over the summer. The agency released its statement after The New York Times reported that auto experts feared the games could present a safety risk by distracting drivers.

News of the security agency’s investigation was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Tesla has been offering video games on its touch screens for several years, which dominate the dashboards of its cars and allow many aspects of vehicles to be controlled. But the original game set could only be played when the car was parked. A live update this summer added solitaire and two other games that a driver or passenger can play in full view of the driver, raising questions about safety and the potential to distract drivers from the road.

“Distraction-related crashes are a concern, especially in vehicles equipped with an array of convenience technologies such as entertainment screens,” the security agency said. “The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with design flaws that pose unreasonable safety risks. “

Some safety experts have criticized Tesla’s autopilot system, which can steer, slow down and accelerate a car on its own and has few guarantees to ensure drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road . At least 12 road deaths have occurred since 2016 involving Tesla vehicles operating on autopilot where hands-free driving and driver inattention have been cited as probable causes, according to security agency data.

Tesla seems to be aware that the new games can be played while the car is in motion. A warning will appear on the screen before the game starts and say: “Solitaire is for everyone, but playing while the car is in motion is for passengers only”. The system asks for confirmation that the person seeking to play the game is a passenger, but nothing prevents drivers from clicking the button and starting a game.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NHTSA takes a look at Tesla video games that can be played on the move
NHTSA takes a look at Tesla video games that can be played on the move
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