Tesla Limits Their Display Features After Federal Investigation

Tesla is known for its big tablet-like screen that allows for much more than just navigation and radio with the touch of your finger. However, the freedom that this display holds received concerns and backlash for safety. Tesla said on Thursday that it will no longer have the ability to play or watch video games on its vehicles’ touchscreens while they are in motion, in response to a government safety inquiry into the function.

The function, known as “Passenger Play,” has been available to drivers since December 2020, according to the investigation’s documents. The games are shown on the dashboard’s huge touchscreen in the middle. According to the documents associated with the investigation, despite the name indicating it is supposed to be played by passengers, nothing prohibited drivers from playing while driving.

Tesla told the media that it is modifying the performance of its ‘Passenger Play’ feature following the start of a preliminary examination. ‘Passenger Play’ will now be locked and unavailable while the car is in motion, resulting from a recent software update.

The corporation warns drivers who use full-self-driving functions such as “Autopilot” and “FSD” to be vigilant and maintain their hands on the wheel. However, Tesla has been called out for making it easier for drivers to become distracted, as well as a series of incidents involving cars in Autopilot mode.

“The NHTSA is currently investigating Tesla for at least 11 accidents involving cars using its Autopilot or other self-driving features that collided with emergency vehicles when coming upon the scene of an earlier crash. Those 11 accidents were responsible for 17 injuries and one death, according to the agency.”

CNN Business article, “Tesla to pull plug on letting drivers play video games after federal investigation”

While the advancement and freedom in automotive technology is innovative and allows for more insight on traffic and customization for each driver, it also amounts for a concern in safety and distractions on the practically tablet-like screen. Distracted driving is being highlighted by US officials as a serious safety problem on American roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people were killed in incidents involving distracted drivers in 2019.

Even though Tesla stated how distracting features on the display are for passengers to use, it should be modified to only be accessed when the vehicle is not in motion. The ability to play videos and browse the web that would take up two-thirds of a screen a display would limit the amount of space the driver needs for navigation, which would make it much easier to distract even at a glance.

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