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Tesla will stop letting people play games in cars that are moving

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Games will again be limited to cars in park

The Tesla center screen is displaying the warning prompt on a black background to confirm you are a passenger, allowing you to tap a button to continue the game.
Tesla says it’ll turn off its Passenger Play feature with an update.
Image: The Verge

Tesla won’t let people play video games on its cars’ built-in display while in motion anymore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This change, which The Verge confirmed is included in Friday’s V11 software update, comes right on the heels of the NHTSA announcing an investigation into the feature, which would include the evaluation of over half a million cars.

When The Verge tested out the feature, called Passenger Play, earlier this month, we could play a few Tesla Arcade games while the car was moving. A warning popped up on the screen, saying only passengers are allowed to play while the car’s moving, along with a button asking to confirm that the player is a passenger.

But nothing really stops a driver from pressing the button and playing a game while driving. There’s “no argument that can be made that [the feature] isn’t dangerous,” the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety said, according to The New York Times.

Tesla told the agency it would change the feature, the NHTSA said in an emailed statement. “The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects posing unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that distract drivers from driving safely,” the agency said in its statement.

The regulator agency has been paying a lot of attention to the automaker over the past year. It opened an investigation into its autopilot feature, after Teslas repeatedly crashed into parked emergency vehicles. It’s also publicly asked about the company’s rollout of its Full Self Driving Beta, which used a “safety score” to determine who got it and initially came with an NDA.

Update December 24th, 1:02PM ET: Updated to reflect that the change is now live, and games can no longer be played while the car is in drive.