A recent memo posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has revealed that Tesla had submitted a partial response to the agency’s ongoing probe into the electric vehicle maker’s retired “Passenger Play” feature. The memo was posted on the NHTSA’s website on Tuesday.
“The manufacturer’s partial response to the Office of Defect Investigation (ODI)’s Information Request for this investigation has been received and is being reviewed. The company has requested confidential business information (CBI) treatment for the entirety of the information request submission. While ODI’s investigation is ongoing, we recommend that you periodically review this investigation file for additional documents and updates,” the memo read.
Back in December, the NHTSA opened an investigation into an estimated 580,000 Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model X, and Model X, from the 2017 to 2022 model years. The vehicles, which were equipped with the company’s “Passenger Play” feature, could run video games despite being on Drive. The feature was designed to be used by people on the passenger seat, but the NHTSA was concerned that such a feature could also result in drivers getting distracted.
A formal safety probe was opened by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation to evaluate the driver distraction potential of “Passenger Play,” and Tesla later responded by retiring the function. Passengers could still access video games from the vehicles’ infotainment systems, but they were not able to run them anymore when the cars were on Drive.
The NHTSA also sent a letter to Tesla asking the company for more information that can help its ongoing probe. This information included consumer complaints, as well as reports of crashes, injuries, fatalities, and lawsuits that may be related to “Passenger Play.” The agency also requested that Tesla submit a chronology of events and studies which explains the company’s decision to deploy — and later, retire — the in-vehicle gaming function.
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