We Urge the NHSTA to Approve This New Tesla Feature

A Tesla owner discovered a previously unknown feature in his new vehicle. We urge the NHSTA to approve this new Tesla feature.

Tesla Model S dashboard we urge the nhsta to approve this new Tesla feature

Tesla Model S dashboard (click for larger image)

Let the New York Times tell the story.

An over-the-air update this summer added solitaire and two other games that can be played by a driver or by a passenger in full view of the driver.

The federal government’s top auto safety regulator said on Wednesday that it had begun looking into a new feature in Tesla cars allowing drivers to play video games on a large touchscreen while the vehicles are moving.

“We are aware of driver concerns and are discussing the feature with the manufacturer,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement.

Tesla appeared to be aware the new games can be played while the car is in motion. A warning shows up on the screen before the game starts that reads, “Solitaire is for everyone but playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers.” The system asks for confirmation that the person seeking to play the game is a passenger, but there is nothing preventing drivers from clicking the button and starting a game.

My lovely wife suggested that a simple interlock with the passenger seat could measure weight on the seat, disabling the games if no one was sitting there.  I replied that an anvil would work as well as a human. In any case, our recommendation for approval is obvious.

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