To prevent drivers from engaging in distracted driving activities such as playing video games while their car is in motion, Tesla has announced that it will implement this feature

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Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images) – Days after a government agency started an inquiry into “Passenger Play,” the manufacturer is tweaking the function to see whether it has the ability to distract drivers. Within days of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opening a preliminary investigation into Tesla’s “Passenger Play” feature — which allows drivers to play certain games on the car’s center touch screen while the vehicle is moving — the automaker has decided to modify the feature in order to avoid this dangerous and possibly fatal activity.

Gizmodo received confirmation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday that Tesla was altering Passenger Play. It all started with a complaint from Tesla Model 3 owner Vince Patton, who contacted the agency in November and requested an inquiry. By playing games such as Sky Force Reloaded and Solitaire while driving, Patton decided to make a complaint. Passenger Play was tested at an empty parking lot at a nearby college.

According to Patton, “Somebody’s going to be murdered” in the interview. “It’s a complete and utter mess.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that Tesla owners will be able to play games in their cars while driving in December 2020. Previously, drivers were only able to play games while the vehicle was parked. Solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded, and The Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise were all introduced to Passenger Play this summer by Tesla, according to the New York Times.

Even though users are prompted to affirm that they are not driving while opening the game, nothing prohibits them from lying and pressing the “play” button nevertheless.

The probe encompasses all Tesla models built between 2017 and 2022, or 580,000 cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed to Gizmodo that their investigation against Tesla is underway and that it is in the process of gathering further information from the company.

‘Passenger Play,’ Tesla told the agency after the opening of an initial review, that it is modifying the feature’s functioning. According to a statement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Passenger Play” will now be locked and unavailable while the vehicle in motion.” All manufacturers, including Tesla, are often contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address possible safety issues, including Tesla’s response to our concerns.

Additionally, the Vehicle Safety Act prevents manufacturers from selling vehicles with problems that pose unjustifiable hazards to safety, according to a spokeswoman. According to a spokeswoman, this includes “technology that divert drivers from driving safely”

On Thursday, Gizmodo contacted Tesla for comment but did not get a response until publishing time. No response will be forthcoming from the carmaker, as it has dissolved its press office. This story will be updated if and when the firm comes back to us.