U.S auto safety regulator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Wednesday they have started a formal safety investigation into 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 concerning the automaker’s decision to enable games to be played on the front center touchscreen.
NHTSA said its initial evaluation covers various 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y models. This functionality is referred to as “Passenger Play,” and it “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash”.
The agency said it has confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 in the automaker’s ‘Passenger Play’-equipped vehicles. Before then, the game feature was allowed only when the vehicle was in Park.
NHTSA said in a statement on Wednesday it was dedicated to ensuring the highest safety standards on the nation’s roadways.
The agency said the decision to start the investigation was based on reports about the automaker’s gameplay functionality which is visible from the driver’s seat and can be enabled while driving the car.
Tesla is yet to comment on this matter.