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.