Tuesday, 08 March 2022 10:51

Tesla Submits Partial Response to NHTSA’s Probe On In-Car ‘Passenger Play’ Feature

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati

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A recent memo posted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed Tesla submitted a partial response to the agency’s ongoing probe into its retired “Passenger Play” feature.

The memo was posted March 8 on the NHTSA’s website.
“The manufacturer’s partial response to the Office of Defect Investigation (ODI)’s Information Request for this investigation has been received and is being reviewed," the memo read. "The company has requested confidential business information (CBI) treatment for the entirety of the information request submission. While ODI’s investigation is ongoing, we recommend that you periodically review this investigation file for additional documents and updates.”


In December, the NHTSA opened an investigation into an estimated 580,000 Tesla Model 3, Model Y and Model X vehicles from the 2017 to 2022 model years. The vehicles, which were equipped with the company’s “Passenger Play” feature, could run video games despite being in Drive. The feature was designed to be used by people in the passenger seat, but the NHTSA was concerned such a feature could also result in drivers getting distracted.
A formal safety probe was opened by the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation to evaluate the driver distraction potential of “Passenger Play,” and Tesla responded by retiring the function. Passengers could still access video games from the vehicles’ infotainment systems, but they were not able to run them anymore when the cars were in Drive. 


The NHTSA also sent a letter to Tesla asking the company for more information that can help its ongoing probe, including consumer complaints and reports of crashes, injuries, fatalities and lawsuits that may be related to “Passenger Play.”


The agency also requested Tesla submit a chronology of events and studies which explains the company’s decision to deploy---and later, retire---the in-vehicle gaming function. 


We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.