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Tetris in your Tesla? Feds probes potential of drivers playing video games behind the wheel

ATHENS, Ohio (AP) – The United States has opened a formal investigation into the ability of Tesla drivers to play video games on the central touchscreen while the vehicle is in motion.

In a document posted Wednesday on its website, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said a feature called “Passenger Play” could distract drivers and increase the risk of a crash. chance of an accident.

“To date, the agency has received an owner complaint describing the game functionality and has confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 on vehicles equipped with “Passenger Play” of Tesla,” an NHTSA spokesman said in an email. “Prior to this point, the game could only be played while the vehicle was parked.”

The poll, which included all four Tesla models, S, X, Y and 3, was opened to “assess the driver’s ability to lose concentration of Tesla ‘Passenger Play’ while the vehicle is being driven. “Investigators” will evaluate aspects of the feature, including the frequency and usage scenarios of Tesla’s “Passenger Play”.

The investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covers about 580,000 electric cars and SUVs from the 2017 to 2022 model years.

NHTSA documents do not list any accidents or injuries caused by the incident.

An investigation may result in a recall. A message was left early Wednesday, seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department.

Tesla owner Vince Patton, lives near Portland, Oregon, filed a complaint with the agency last month. In August, he was watching a YouTube video of a Tesla owner who discovered he could now play video games on his touchscreen while the car was in motion.

Curious to witness, Patton drove his own 2021 Tesla Model 3 to an empty community college parking lot, fired up a game called “Sky Force Reloaded” from the menu, and performed a few rounds.

Patton, 59, a retired journalist who lives near Portland, Oregon, said: “I was just stunned that, yes, this complicated video game came out.

He also tried Solitaire and was able to activate it while driving. Then he found he could browse the internet while the car was in motion.

Patton, who loves his car and says he has nothing against Tesla, worries that drivers will play the game and become dangerously distracted.

“Someone is going to be killed,” he said. “It’s completely insane.”

So he filed a complaint early last month.

“NHTSA needs to ban all front-seat live video and all live interactive web browsing while the vehicle is in motion,” Patton wrote in his complaint. “Creating a dangerous distraction for drivers is reckless negligence.”

Early December, Mercedes-Benz issued a recall order for a similar problem caused by a computer configuration error, raising questions about whether Tesla is allowed to do something other automakers don’t. Most automakers disable the front touchscreen when the vehicle is in motion.

In the case of Mercedes, the driver can browse the internet or watch television while the vehicle is moving. The automaker says it plans to disable these features while the vehicle is in motion. The problem was fixed by updating the Mercedes server.

The NHTSA is investigating why Tesla’s “Autopilot” partial autonomous driving system repeatedly crashes into stopped emergency vehicles, and it asked about why Tesla didn’t file a recall when it updated the vehicle. update wireless internet in an attempt to solve the problem of safety. They are also reviewing the performance of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software after receiving complaints that it nearly caused a crash.

Tesla said both systems failed to drive the car, and the driver had to be ready to intervene at all times.

https://kfor.com/news/tetris-in-your-tesla-feds-probe-potential-of-drivers-playing-video-games-behind-the-wheel/ Tetris in your Tesla? Feds probes potential of drivers playing video games behind the wheel

JACLYN DIAZ

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