Under pressure from US auto safety regulators, Tesla has agreed to stop allowing video games to be played on the center touch screen while its vehicles are in motion.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the company will send a software update over the Internet so that a function called “Passenger Play” will be locked and not working while vehicles are moving.
The move comes a day after the agency announced it would launch a formal investigation into distracted driving concerns about Tesla’s video games, some of which can be played while the cars are being driven.
A spokesman for the agency said in a statement on Thursday that the change came after regulators discussed concerns about the system with Tesla.
NHTSA regularly discusses infotainment screens with all vehicle manufacturers, the statement said. A message was left on Thursday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department.
The agency says that its investigation of Tesla’s feature will continue with the update.
“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with undue risk to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely,” the NHTSA statement said. The agency said it assesses how manufacturers identify and protect against the dangers of distraction through misuse or intended use of screens and other facility technology.
The agency announced Wednesday that it would formally investigate Tesla’s screens after a Portland, Oregon owner filed a complaint after it learned a driver might be playing a game while the cars were moving.
The agency said the “passenger play” feature can distract drivers and increase the risk of an accident.
The investigation covers about 580,000 Tesla Model S, X, Y and 3 from the 2017 to 2022 model years.
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