The American regulator in charge of road safety announced on Wednesday December 22, 2021 that it had opened a preliminary investigation into 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017. At issue: the manufacturer’s decision to allow games to be played on the central touch screen before cars. vehicles.
A complaint received
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the preliminary investigation involves various Tesla vehicles from 2017 to 2022: Model 3, S, X, and Y. With Passenger Play functionality, a game can run “on the front center touchscreen while the vehicle is in motion and may present a distraction to the driver”, explains the agency. This feature “may distract the driver and increase the risk of an accident”writes the NHTSA, which received a complaint from a Tesla owner last November about this feature.
The NHTSA explains that the owner of the vehicle confirms that this game functionality, available since December 2020, can be activated while the vehicle is in operation. Prior to this, it was possible to play on this screen only when the vehicle was parked. Through this preliminary investigation, the NHTSA will seek to determine the frequency and scenarios of use of this feature.
the New York Times brought this feature to light in early December. Three games have been added by Tesla’s update, details The Verge: solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded (a fighting game), and The Battle of Polytopia (a strategy game). A warning displayed on the screen states that “only passengers can play when the car is moving”. Confirmation is also requested that the player is indeed a passenger. However, a driver can play by simply indicating to the vehicle that he is a passenger.
An update contrary to NHTSA guidelines?
The NHTSA, specifies Reuters, recalled during the month of December that distracted driving is the cause of a large number of deaths on the roads in the United States: 3,142 deaths are concerned, only over the year. 2019. Figures that could be underestimated according to the champions of safety for whom many people do not admit to having been distracted at the time of an accident.
In 2013, NHTSA issued guidelines to encourage automakers to consider safety and avoid driver distraction in the design and adoption of infotainment systems. It is particularly recommended “that in-vehicle devices are designed in such a way that they cannot be used by the driver to perform inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving”.
Reuters adds that Mercedes has recalled 227 vehicles in the United States because of the vehicle’s infotainment system which could allow “the activation of television and Internet display while driving, causing distraction for the driver”. This latest update from Tesla could thus lead to a recall of all the vehicles concerned. Reminder that can result in a simple update of the vehicle preventing playing games on the front screen of the vehicle when it is in circulation.