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Tesla Unplugs Ability to Play Games While Traveling

By DiBella Law Offices on December 28, 2021

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation of Tesla concerning video games on the front touchscreens of vehicles that can be played while they are in motion. This function on Tesla vehicles is known as “Passenger Play.” The NHTSA is concerned that it may distract drivers and increase the risk of a crash.

Passenger Play has been available to drivers since December 2020, as reported by Business Insider. Before that, gameplay was only enabled on Tesla vehicles when they were in park. The Passenger Play function on Tesla vehicles makes it possible for drivers to play games while driving on the touchscreen of the car.

What Can Tesla’s Touchscreen Do?

Tesla vehicles have state-of-the-art touchscreens with many advanced features:

  • A recent feature is PIN-to-drive. Drivers must enter a pin number on the touchscreen before the car can be driven.
  • Screens can be used to adjust climate control, including temperature, speed, and direction of airflow.
  • Tesla models come with DAB radio and Spotify streaming access with the 4G connection.
  • The Tesla screen uses Google Maps satellite imagery for navigation.
  • Drivers and passengers of Tesla vehicles have karaoke on road trips with a built-in touchscreen car-aoke feature.
  • Video games on Tesla touch screens include Solitaire, Sky Force, Polytopia, and others.

What Recall Was Issued By Mercedes?

Both Tesla and Mercedes vehicles have allowed video games to be played on the main touchscreens while the car is being driven, creating serious potential for dangerous driver distraction. Mercedes has addressed the situation by issuing a voluntary recall to fix the problem. In-motion games were allowed in only a few hundred Mercedes vehicles. The company admitted its mistake and took action to correct it by issuing its November 29, 2021 recall issued through the NHTSA.

What Is the Vehicle Safety Act?

The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 is federal legislation enacted to reduce traffic accidents, injuries, and fatalities. It required regulators to establish motor vehicle safety standards at the federal level to help protect the public from unreasonable risk of accidents because of the design, construction, or performance of motor vehicles. The act prohibits auto manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects that pose unreasonable safety risks. According to NHTSA, technologies that distract drivers, such as video games on vehicle touchscreens, are included in that category, as reported on Business Insider.

How Many Electric Vehicles Are in Massachusetts?

More than 21,000 electric vehicles are registered in Massachusetts, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC). This number represents 2.1% of the total electric vehicles in the U.S. The states with the largest numbers of electric vehicles currently are California (at 42%), Florida, and Texas.

What Are the Common Types and Causes of Distracted Driving?

Driver distraction is anything that pulls the driver’s attention away from safely operating the motor vehicle. Any activity other than driving that requires manual, visual, or cognitive attention from the driver is a distraction. Texting is particularly alarming because it requires all three types of attention. Drivers today may be distracted by:

  • Talking or texting on cell phones
  • Manipulating electronic devices
  • Using navigation systems
  • Adjusting audio systems
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Conversing with passengers

What Should You Do If You Have Been Injured By a Distracted Driver?

If you have been hurt in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced Massachusetts car crash lawyer as soon as possible. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., our firm was founded in 2007 and our founding attorney has been practicing since 2004. Attorney DiBella has been named among the top litigators in Massachusetts and New Hampshire by several legal associations. Call us at (978) 327-5140 to get a talented legal advocate on your side.