Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is currently under investigation by Federal safety regulators following the discovery of a feature that allows drivers to play video games while the vehicle is in motion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened “a preliminary evaluation” (PE) which affects approximately 580,000 of the automakers cars that offer the “Passenger Play” feature.
“This PE has been opened to evaluate the driver distraction potential of Tesla Passenger Play while the vehicle is being driven,” NHTSA wrote in a report. It will also be evaluating the frequency and use of the feature, dating back to models from 2017.
According to the NHTSA, the feature has been available to drivers since December of 2020. Though the game is intended for passengers, there is nothing impeding drivers from playing while the car is actively being driven, according to documents from the investigation. Nevertheless, the agency noted that there have been no associated injuries or fatalities thus far that could be linked to Tesla’s “Passenger Play.”
“NHTSA based its decision on reports that Tesla’s gameplay functionality is visible from the driver’s seat and can be enabled while driving the vehicle,” read a statement by a NHTSA spokesperson.
The probe was initiated from a complaint received earlier in the year, which asked the regulators to ban all live video and interactive web browsing in the front seats while the vehicle is in motion.
“Why is a manufacturer allowed to create an inherently distracting live video which takes over two-thirds of the screen, which the driver relies on for all vehicle information?” the complaint read. “Tesla has no gauges above the steering wheel.”
The NHTSA released a statement reminding people that “no commercially available motor vehicles today can drive themselves.”