The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday that electric car maker Tesla will stop allowing video games to be played on vehicle screens while its cars are moving.
The move follows the NHTSA’s announcement on Wednesday that it has launched a formal security investigation into the vehicle manufacturer’s decision to allow 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 to play games on the front center touch screen while still in operation.
The NHTSA claims that this activity, referred to as “Passenger Play”, can distract the driver and increase the risk of an accident.
A spokesman for the agency said in a statement that Tesla had informed NHTSA that a software update would lock the “Passenger Play” feature and make the vehicle unusable while in operation.
“The NHTSA continues to evaluate how manufacturers can identify and protect against distractions from the intended use of convenient technologies, including information, misuse, or infotainment screens,” the company said.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Security advocates have expressed concern that drivers will not be able to focus on the road, especially when Tesla vehicles are operating in a semi-autonomous mode known as autopilot.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the driver’s distraction from an auto-pilot Tesla car crash in California in 2018 may have been from phone game use.
The NHTSA began a safety investigation into 765,000 Tesla vehicles in August after a series of accidents involving the organization and parked emergency vehicles through its automation system.
© Thompson Reuters 2021