How anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place is beyond comprehension.
Earlier this month, Tesla announced that drivers could take advantage of an over-the-air (OTA) update that would allow them to play video games while driving. It doesn't matter if you're trying to set a quarter-mile record in a Model S Plaid or sitting in traffic in an entry-level Model 3, this is not a good idea. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wasn't taking this lightly. It said that playing video games while driving "may distract [drivers] and increase the risk of a crash."
For an automaker that regularly has brush-ups with the road safety agency, you'd think that such a moronic idea would be cause for retrenchment, not make it to a production car. Fortunately, common sense has, at last, prevailed, with Tesla announcing to the NHTSA that it would be pulling the feature.
This comes only after the NHTSA announced two days ago that it would be launching a probe to investigate various "Passenger Play" features in a Tesla, following discussions with the automaker shortly after the update was announced. This probe affected more than 580,000 vehicles, and now the NHTSA has revealed that Tesla "is changing the functionality of this feature."
As you would expect, the feature will now only work when the vehicle is parked. What confuses us is that the government had to get involved for Tesla to realize that this was a bad idea. After all, when Tesla announced that you could watch Netflix shows on its screens, that feature was only accessible when stationary too, so the dangers of distracted driving seemed to have been clear.
Of course, there will be some who will try to defend Tesla's update, saying that it was only ever intended for use by the passenger, not the driver. But while we can agree that overregulation is never fun and that users need to take responsibility for their own actions behind the wheel, the worldwide pandemic of texting, tweeting, scrolling Instagram, or posting to Facebook while driving has not subsided. Factor drunk drivers, student drivers, and the elderly into the equation, and our roads already have enough potential dangers to keep motorists completely occupied.
Hopefully, Tesla's resources won't be wasted on something as silly as this in the future. Tesla really ought to resolve quality issues and focus on getting true autonomous driving to work before making roads more dangerous. Recent Model Y crash results prove that the brand already has a solid and safe foundation.