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TESLA, INC.

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U.S. seeks more information from Tesla on distracted drive game probe

01/25/2022 | 08:10pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen on a Parisian taxi car in Paris

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S auto safety regulators on Tuesday said they have sought additional information from Tesla Inc in its probe into 580,000 vehicles over the automaker's decision to allow games to be played by passengers on the front center touchscreen.

In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a preliminary evaluation into 2017-2022 Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y vehicles over the vehicle's "Passenger Play" feature the agency said "may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash."

NHTSA wants records of any crash reports tied to the feature and for Tesla to furnish a chronology of events and studies supporting its risk assessment "in employment of front seat non-driving related tasks from in-vehicle based devices even if the task is intended only for front seat passenger."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment

NHTSA said in December it has "confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 in Tesla 'Passenger Play'-equipped vehicles." Before then, the game feature "was enabled only when the vehicle was in park."

On Dec. 23, Tesla told NHTSA it would stop allowing video games to be played on vehicle screens while its cars are moving, the agency said.

Tesla informed NHTSA a software update will lock the "Passenger Play" feature and make it unusable when the vehicle is in motion, NHTSA said.

NHTSA asked Tesla to answer questions by March 4 including providing "trip counts in which game use occurred while the shift indicator was in drive" and include usage where vehicle sensors did not detect an occupant in the front passenger seat. It also wants data where "gameplay was concurrent with any driver intervention measures or active safety measures."

The agency in August opened a safety investigation into 765,000 Tesla vehicles over its driver-assistance system Autopilot after a series of crashes involving the system and parked emergency vehicles.

A preliminary evaluation is a first step before NHTSA decides whether to upgrade a probe to an engineering analysis, which must happen before the agency can demand a recall.

On Nov. 29, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz recalled 227 U.S. vehicles because the vehicle infotainment systems "might allow activation of the television and internet display while driving, causing a distraction for the driver."

In 2013, NHTSA issued guidelines to encourage automakers "to factor safety and driver distraction-prevention into their designs and adoption of infotainment devices in vehicles."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bernard Orr)

By David Shepardson


© Reuters 2022
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ACTIVATION GROUP HOLDINGS LIMITED 1.82% 1.12 Delayed Quote.-24.14%
TESLA, INC. 7.43% 707.73 Delayed Quote.-37.66%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2022 86 514 M - -
Net income 2022 12 821 M - -
Net cash 2022 19 125 M - -
P/E ratio 2022 64,5x
Yield 2022 -
Capitalization 733 B 733 B -
EV / Sales 2022 8,25x
EV / Sales 2023 6,09x
Nbr of Employees 99 290
Free-Float 82,7%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 38
Last Close Price 707,73 $
Average target price 947,62 $
Spread / Average Target 33,9%
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Managers and Directors
Elon Reeve Musk Technoking of Tesla
Zachary J. Kirkhorn Master of Coin
Robyn M. Denholm Chairman
Ira M. Ehrenpreis Independent Director
James Rupert Murdoch Independent Director
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