Safety concerns raised after Tesla lets drivers play video games while driving

American authorities are already investigating the potential safety concerns resulting from playing games while driving a Tesla.

Tesla is a forward-thinking company. Elon Musk knows that Tesla's main market is people who are into the latest in technology or video games and often both. This is why the tech upstart is letting drivers play video games using the center touchscreen. Unfortunately, a not-so-recent update might have allowed a workaround to the built-in safety feature that prevented gaming while the vehicle is in motion.

If players can't use their phones while driving, the same logic should apply to the more involved apps included in Tesla's center console.

Should Tesla remove video games from its center touchscreen entirely?

One can't help but wonder just how much of passenger and driver safety Tesla is willing to compromise in exchange for pushing technological boundaries.

Video games are one of Tesla's main selling points for select models. For example, the Tesla Model S 2021 even has a built-in gaming PC that can reportedly play Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, just because you can game on your Tesla, this doesn't necessarily mean that you should. This is why several parties including owners themselves are raising questions about safety and driver distraction after an over-the-air software update last summer let gamers play video games on their Teslas regardless of whether it was put in park or not.

According to The Verge, the Tesla Model 3 owners can play Solitaire, The Battle of Polytopia, and Sky Force Reloaded, on the center touchscreen console even if the vehicle is on the move. All they have to do is to tap "I AM A PASSENGER" when asked if the player isn't the driver. This means that drivers could easily lie.

This isn't the first time such a thing has happened. Even before the update, select interactive apps worked in Model 3 when in motion. The only "safety measure" is that the apps warn drivers not to participate.

The United States government has finally gotten involved as it promises to start looking into the complaints lodged against Tesla.

Model 3 owners were the first to lodge complaints about this oversight by Tesla. The NHTSA reports at least 59 complaints from Model 3 owners regarding the same issue. However, there are legitimate concerns that Tesla won't listen. The tech company has frequently skirted safety rules and blatantly ignored recommendations by governing bodies.

If it's any consolation, Tesla has started using interior cameras to monitor drivers that are part of the Full Self-Driving beta program. This allows the vehicle's software to keep an eye on the driver to check if they are paying attention while taking advantage of the vehicle's self-driving features on local and non-highway streets. Unfortunately, not all Tesla vehicles have this feature. This means that it's currently impossible to guarantee that drivers are keeping their attention on the road, and not on the touchscreen and playing video games.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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