Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play’ investigation gets closure from NHTSA

(Credit: Tesla)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is closing its investigation into Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play’ feature that was launched in late 2021 that affected 580,000 vehicles, but it still will keep an eye on the feature.

The NHTSA opened a Preliminary Evaluation into the feature in January of last year after formally launching an investigation in December 2021. The agency requested information from Tesla regarding vehicles “available throughout 2021 in model year (MY) 2017 through 2022 Model 3 and 2018 through 2022 Model S, X, and Y vehicles manufactured by Tesla, Inc.”

Tesla agreed to stop allowing the video games to be played on screens while vehicles were in motion, which were available to passengers and not the driver.

The NHTSA stated in its investigation closure:

“Passenger Play permitted occupants to play specific games selected by Tesla for primarily turn-based play style and limited gameplay motion with the transmission in Drive and the vehicle in motion. Under these conditions, a notification would display on the screen, and the screen area devoted to the game would reduce from 100% to accommodate vehicle controls and driving task data readout. Specific changes varied among models.”

The NHTSA confirmed this morning that it would shut down its investigation, and would not seek a recall of the vehicles, but it goes a tad further than that.

The investigation closed on May 26.

The agency also stated that a recall was not currently necessary, but data provided by Tesla showed that the feature “produced significant concerns about driver distraction during the time that it was available.”

Additionally, the NHTSA admitted that it would not commit to stating that “no safety-related defect exists. Furthermore, it does not foreclose the agency from taking further action, if warranted, or the potential for a future finding that a safety-related defect exists through additional information the Agency may receive.”

Tesla disabled the feature in 97 percent of the vehicles due to an Over-the-Air software update within a month of the NTHSA’s request to axe “Passenger Play.”

After the update, the games would only be operational when the cars were in park.

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Tesla Passenger Play Closed by Joey Klender on Scribd

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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