The US government opened an official investigation into Tesla letting people play video games while driving

The US government opened an official investigation into Tesla letting people play video games while driving
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Matt Rourke/AP Photo
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe into Tesla's "Passenger Play" feature.
  • "Passenger Play" allows drivers to play video games on the cars' touchscreens while in motion.

Tesla is under investigation by the US auto safety agency over reports that drivers can play video games on vehicles' front touchscreens while the car is in motion

A document published to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) site states the investigation was opened on Tuesday following a single complaint, and applies to roughly 580,000 vehicles.

"This functionality, referred to as 'Passenger Play,' may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash," the agency said in the document.

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The NHTSA said it confirmed that this functionality has been available to drivers since December 2020. "Prior to this time, gameplay was enabled only when the vehicle was in Park," it said.

The New York Times spoke to a Tesla Model 3 owner in December who said he'd discovered he was able to play games including solitaire on his car's touchscreen while driving. The driver said he'd also seen people on YouTube driving while playing games in Teslas.


"I'm astonished. To me, it just seems inherently dangerous," he told The Times.

The NHTSA said it was in talks with Tesla about the feature the next day.

In Tuesday's document announcing the official probe, the NHTSA said the feature could be dangerous.

Tesla did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider about the NHTSA investigation.

The agency also opened an investigation into Tesla in August over the safety of its driver-assistance Autopilot feature, following 12 reports of Teslas on Autopilot crashing into emergency vehicles.