The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a probe covering 580,000 Tesla vehicles after reports that drivers can play games on the vehicles’ center touch screen while the car is in motion.
Multiple YouTube videos show drivers interacting with the system while their car is moving. The system displays a warning about playing games while driving, but there is nothing to prevent drivers from using the touch screen to play games, such as Solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded, and The Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise. According to the New York Times, those games were added by Tesla via an update over the summer.
The investigation covers Tesla models, the S, X, Y, and 3 from 2017-2022.
“To date, the agency has received one owner complaint describing the gameplay functionality and has confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 in Tesla “Passenger Play”-equipped vehicles,” an NHTSA spokesman told the Associated Press in an email. “Before this time, enabling gameplay was only possible when the vehicle was in park.”
The NHTSA said the investigation will “evaluate the driver distraction potential of Tesla’ Passenger Play’ while the vehicle is being driven.”
The complaint was filed by Vince Patton, who saw the YouTube videos and confirmed he could play games while driving his Tesla 3 in a parking lot. In his complaint to the NHTSA, Patton said the agency “needs to prohibit all live video in the front seat and all live interactive web browsing while the car is in motion.”
While there have been no reports of crashes or injuries because of drivers distracted by playing games, Patton told the AP it is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.
“Somebody’s going to get killed,” he said. “It’s absolutely insane.”