US Inspectors Probe Tesla’s Onboard Game That Could Cause Driver Distraction, Crashes

© AP Photo / David ZalubowskiThe company logo shines off the grille of an unsold 2020 Model S sedan at a Tesla dealership Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Littleton, Colorado.
The company logo shines off the grille of an unsold 2020 Model S sedan at a Tesla dealership Sunday, July 19, 2020, in Littleton, Colorado. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US federal traffic safety inspectors said on Wednesday they have opened investigations against electric carmaker Tesla’s models that allowed a game to be played during driving that could cause distraction and chances of a crash.
Tesla’s Model 3, S, X and Y vehicles from years 2017 to 2022 have a functionality called “Passenger Play” “that may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash”,  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement.
Prior to a December 2020 upgrade, the game could only be played when Tesla vehicles were in park mode, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects said in its “Preliminary Evaluation."
The evaluation would determine the level of driver distraction potential from the game when Tesla vehicles were being driven, the statement said. The agency will also attempt to discover the frequency and use scenarios of the game.
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
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The CBC news portal said the NHTSA probe was triggered by a complaint filed by Tesla owner Vince Patton who discovered from a YouTube video in August that he could now play a video game on his car’s touchscreen while driving.
Patton said he loved his Tesla but added that he was worried that drivers will play with the feature while on the road and become dangerously distracted. "Somebody's going to get killed," the 59-year-old retired broadcast journalist was quoted as saying. "It's absolutely insane."
Tesla did not immediately respond to media queries about the investigation.
All new Tesla cars have hardware for self-driving if autonomous driving becomes a norm in the future. That allows them to carry driver features and conveniences typically not found in motorized vehicles.
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