U.S. Auto Safety Agency Presses Tesla On Video Game Feature, Auto News, ET Auto

The agency said distracted driving was behind a significant number of road fatalities in the United States – 3,142 in 2019 alone.

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON: Expressing concerns about vehicle crashes, the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Wednesday it was discussing with Tesla Inc the update to the electric car maker’s software that allows users to play. playing video games on a touchscreen mounted in front of the dashboard.

Tesla added the games in a live software update sent to most of its vehicles this summer, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

“Distraction-related crashes are a concern, particularly in vehicles equipped with an array of convenience technologies such as entertainment screens. We are aware of the concerns of drivers and are discussing the functionality with the manufacturer,” he said. NHTSA said in a statement provided to Reuters via email. .

The agency said distracted driving was the cause of a significant number of road fatalities in the United States – 3,142 in 2019 alone. Safety advocates said official figures under – estimate the problem, because not all distracted drivers admit the problem after crashes.

The Times said Tesla’s update added three games – a solitaire, a battle-and-conquest strategy storyline – and said the company had a warning: “Playing while the car is in motion is only for children. passengers. The Times reported that a button asks for confirmation that the player is a passenger, although a driver can play just by pressing the button.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2013, the NHTSA issued guidelines to encourage automakers “to consider safety and prevention of driver distraction in their designs and the adoption of in-vehicle infotainment devices.” The guidelines “recommend that in-vehicle devices be designed so that they cannot be used by the driver to perform inherently distracting side tasks while driving,” the agency said.

The NHTSA guidelines “specify a test method to assess whether a task interferes with a driver’s attention, rendering it unsuitable for a driver to perform while driving.”

The agency opened a safety investigation into Tesla Autopilot’s driver assistance system in August after a series of accidents involving the system and parked emergency vehicles.

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The automaker added the games in a live software update that was sent to most of its cars this summer. They can be played by a driver or by a passenger in full view of the driver, raising new questions about whether Tesla compromises safety as it rushes to add new technology and features to its cars.

Now these questions are at the heart of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after at least 12 crashes in which Teslas using Autopilot drove in parked fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles. , killing one person and injuring 17 others.g


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