The NHTSA confirmed that it has now launched an official probe into Tesla drivers playing video games on its vehicles’ onboard computers.

Other than common sense and/or fear of getting caught, there’s nothing stopping anyone from using their phones, including playing video games on them, while driving.

You can get hefty fines for getting caught using your phone while driving. There have been some efforts from smartphone companies to detect driving and warn users not to use their phones while driving, but that’s basically the extent of the effort to prevent the dangerous practice.

As for Tesla, the same problem exists with phones, but the automaker is also introducing a new factor: its in-car video games.

Tesla has recently been putting more work toward video games inside its vehicles with the goal to “optimize fun” with its ownership experience.

Last year, we reported on Tesla building a new video game and user interface team in Austin, Texas. The goal is to build the platform, Tesla Arcade, and onboard as many video games as possible.

It is primarily supposed to be used while parked and charging, but Tesla allows playing video games while driving after a warning that it should only be used by passengers.

Earlier this month, we reported on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirming that it is talking with Tesla about the issue.

Now Reuters reports that the NHTSA has launched an official probe into the issue:

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said its preliminary evaluation covers various 2017-2022 model year Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y vehicles. This functionality, referred to as “Passenger Play,” “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash,” the agency said.”

It covers 580,000 vehicles or basically all Tesla vehicles in the US with the capability for “passenger play.”

The agency will try to evaluate how the feature is being used in order to see if there’s any safety risk that can be mitigated.

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Fred Lambert

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