WASHINGTON: US auto safety regulators said Tuesday they have sought additional information from Tesla Inc in an investigation into 580,000 vehicles, including the automaker’s decision to allow passengers to play games on a front center touchscreen.
In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary assessment on the vehicle’s “Passenger Play” feature in 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, S, X and Y vehicles, saying the agency “could distract the driver and increase There could be an accident risk.”
NHTSA wants records of any crash reports associated with the feature and for Tesla to present a chronology of incidents and studies that support its risk assessment “from in-vehicle based devices to the employment of front seat non-driving related tasks.” in even though the act is intended only for the front seat passenger.”
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
NHTSA said in December that it “confirmed that this capability has been available in vehicles equipped with Tesla ‘Passenger Play’ as of December 2020.” Previously, the game feature was “enabled only when the vehicle was in park.”
On December 23, Tesla told NHTSA that it would stop allowing video games to be played on vehicle screens while its cars are driving, the agency said.
NHTSA said Tesla notified NHTSA that a software update would lock the “Passenger Play” feature and make it unusable while the vehicle is in motion.
NHTSA asked Tesla to answer questions by March 4, including providing “trip counts using the game while the shift indicator is in drive” and including uses where vehicle sensors detected a front passenger. Did not locate an occupant on the seat. It also wants data where “gameplay was concurrent with any driver intervention measures or proactive safety measures.”
The agency began a safety check on 765,000 Tesla vehicles on its driver-assistance system Autopilot in August, following a series of accidents involving the system and parked emergency vehicles.
The preliminary evaluation is a first step before NHTSA decides whether to upgrade an investigation to an engineering analysis, which must occur before the agency is recalled.
On November 29, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz recalled 227 US vehicles because the vehicle infotainment system “may allow television and Internet displays to be activated while driving, thereby distracting the driver.”
In 2013, the NHTSA issued guidelines encouraging automakers “to adopt safety and driver distraction-prevention in their design and infotainment devices in vehicles.”