Tesla has always been eager to push boundaries in the automotive market. It has not confined its efforts to electric drive but has also made significant judgments regarding the interior experience of its vehicles. Following a new upgrade, it is now possible to play games on a Tesla’s infotainment screen while the car is in motion, provoking the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The new Tesla Arcade feature may now be played while the car is in motion. Before enabling the game to begin, the touchscreen clearly displays a large button that states, “I AM A PASSENGER.” Unfortunately, it appears that fooling Tesla’s software into thinking a passenger is playing a game is rather easy. When questioned right before the game, the driver can easily falsely claim to be a passenger by pressing the button.
The NHTSA has verified that it is investigating the matter.
“We are aware of driver concerns and are discussing the feature with the manufacturer. “The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with design defects posing unreasonable risks to safety,” a spokeswoman wrote in a statement.
The NHTSA is concerned about the company’s new software update, owing to an already high number of crashes caused by distracted drivers behind the wheel. “Distraction-affected crashes are a concern, particularly in vehicles equipped with an array of convenience technologies such as entertainment screens. We are aware of driver concerns and are discussing the feature with the manufacturer,” NHTSA said in a statement.
In 2019, according to NHTSA records, distracted driving was responsible for 3,142 deaths in the United States, out of a total of 36,096 road fatalities that year. However, some safety advocates believe that the accurate figure is substantially higher because many drivers do not admit to being distracted on the road.
It’s not the first time Tesla has been brought to the NHTSA’s attention. The government agency is presently probing the company in connection with crashes caused by Tesla vehicles in Autopilot mode.
Manufacturers often avoid displaying distracting content such as games or movies on driver-facing screens. Negotiations between the NHTSA and Tesla will indicate whether this is a turning point away from that standard.