The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a formal probe into certain Tesla vehicles on Wednesday, after reports emerged that drivers can play video games on the car’s touchscreen while in motion.
According to the safety regulator, the Passenger Play function on Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash.” The investigation is looking into 580,000 Model 3, S, X, and Y vehicles.
“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,” a spokesperson for the NHTSA told ABC News.
The agency said such capability has been available since December 2020 in Tesla Passenger Play-equipped vehicles. Prior to that, enabling gameplay was possible only when the vehicle was parked.
Data compiled by the NHTSA shows that distracted driving was the cause of the deaths of more than 3,000 people in the US in 2019.
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