But the NHTSA is not letting Tesla totally off the hook just yet.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed its investigation into Teslas equipped with Passenger Play. The NHTSA started the investigation following a single complaint, stating that the passenger using the front center touchscreen to play video games might distract the driver.
Passenger Play was part of an update released in December 2021, allowing the passenger to play games while the car was in motion. There were even reports of drivers being able to play games while the car was on the move, but at the time, it was impossible to verify. The Feds initially stated that it had some questions for the American EV brand, but we now know that an official investigation was launched on 21 December 2021.
A few days later, even Tesla admitted that allowing front occupants to play video games was a bad idea.
The investigation included Tesla's entire range, including the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y. No further investigation was needed after Tesla voluntarily disabled Passenger Play on the same day the NHTSA launched its official investigation.
According to the report, which was first discovered by Autoblog, Tesla reported a month later that 97% of all its vehicles had received the update that stopped the driver and passenger from playing games while the car is in motion. The NHTSA hasn't closed the door entirely, however. "The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists," the report states.
We're big fans of Tesla's gaming system and hope its plans to include Steam integration come true. But gaming should only be accessible if the car is stationary. Playing Beach Buggy Racing helps kill time when the car is charging and stops you from spending money on unnecessary garbage at stores near the Supercharger Station.
Tesla is not the only manufacturer that sees the potential of gaming while charging. Third-party suppliers already have a rear-seat gaming system that plugs into a Tesla's OBD port, and BMW and AirConsole have introduced in-car gaming with the all-new G60 5 Series. We expect to see even more automakers invest in this technology to make charging times palatable.
There were some shocking revelations from the data Tesla supplied to the NHTSA. Most Tesla drivers are pretty intelligent, and Passenger Play was only used on a small number of trips. But here's the shocking revelation: for a third of these trips, nobody was in the passenger seat.
That means a few people were driving and playing games simultaneously, but, to be blunt, that's not the dumbest thing some Tesla owners do.