Tesla has confirmed that it will be disabling the Passenger Play feature of the Tesla Arcade on-board gaming hub after coming under fire from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA deemed this feature a safety hazard arguing that even though it’s meant for the passengers, the driver could easily bypass the safety feature and play games while at the wheel.
The only feature implemented by Tesla to prevent the driver from accessing gaming while on the move was a simple button on screen that could be easily placed by people sitting in either front seat. Now Teslarati received a statement from the NHTSA confirming the fact that Tesla had agreed to disable the feature until further notice. The statement says:
Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s “Passenger Play,” Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature. In a new software update, “Passenger Play” will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion. The Agency maintains regular discussions with all manufacturers to discuss potential safety concerns of these systems, including Tesla’s response to our concerns about this feature.
The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely. NHTSA constantly assesses how manufacturers identify and safeguard against distraction hazards that may arise due to faults, misuse, or intended use of convenience technologies, including infotainment screens.
We will continue to do so. NHTSA also reviews consumer complaints and a massive amount of data that companies are required to submit on a regular basis, looking for evidence of safety risks. If the data show that such a risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.
Tesla will therefore only allow access to the gaming feature when the vehicle is completely stationary. We don’t know exactly when the update that locks it will be rolled out, but it’s safe to assume this will be one of the changes made by the next over-the-air update from the manufacturer.