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NHTSA shuts down Tesla's Passenger Play feature after investigation

The feature allows video games to be played on the vehicle's center screen while the car is in motion.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
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Playing games on your Tesla's screen while parked is cool, doing it while driving isn't.


Being able to play video games in your car was once the realm of The Fast and the Furious movies, but made it a reality a few years ago. It's been a popular feature, and given how much of a total snoozer it can be to sit in your car waiting for it to charge, it's pretty easy to see why. Only, Tesla decided to take things further by introducing a feature called Passenger Play, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says has gotta go.

The decision, which Reuters reported on Thursday, makes a lot of sense, and frankly, we're kind of surprised Passenger Play survived this long. The problem with the feature is, of course, its potential to distract the driver from driving (something that an unfortunate number of Tesla drivers seem to struggle with as it is), which would increase the risk of a crash.

Tesla has told NHTSA that it will issue a new software update that will lock the feature, making games only accessible while the vehicle is parked. The update is estimated to affect around 565,000 Teslas.

This isn't Tesla's first trip around the dance floor with NHTSA. The government agency has launched several investigations into the company for various reasons, including issues with the company's unfortunately named advanced driver assistance suite Autopilot.

We'd typically ask a company for comment on a story like this, but Tesla dissolved its PR department.

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