Tesla has added a new 17-inch display with a “left-right tilt” feature that will, doubtless, lead to even more driver and passengers distractions than ever.
Fair or not, Tesla crashes have always made the news– especially if one of the company’s autonomous technologies is involved. This new 17″ swivel screen will greatly improve in-car entertainment and both the drivers’ or (not “and”) passengers’ viewing experience during their Netflix watching or video-game playing, sure … but will it make being in a Tesla safer?
Maybe a better question: will it make sharing a road with a Tesla any safer?
Video Games and Distracted Driving
An over-the-air software update added the game-playing feature to Tesla’s center screens in late 2020. Not long after, a clip appeared on YouTube showing a Tesla driver playing the game while the car was motoring down the road– and Tesla owners were quick to try it out.
“I thought surely that can’t be right,” Mr. Patton, a retiree in Lake Oswego, OR told the NYT. But in a parking lot, he gave it a try, and he was able to play a solitaire game on the Model 3 while in motion. “I only did it for like five seconds and then turned it off,” he said. “I’m astonished. To me, it just seems inherently dangerous.”
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into 580,000 Tesla vehicles over the “Passenger Play” game feature, citing “distracted driving” as a leading cause of fatal traffic accidents.
But, surely, making the screen bigger and easier to see from the drivers’ seat will only make for less distractions. Right?
You can check out the screen for yourself in this video posted on Twitter by Larry Li, then let us know what you think of the new swivel display– and whether or not it would distract you, while you were driving– in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Tesla finally added screen swivel to the refreshed model s pic.twitter.com/JeldBrRTXw— Larry Li (@TeslaFrunk) May 3, 2022
It’s worth noting that Tesla currently doesn’t allow video playback unless the car is in park, but Electrek’s Fred Lambert reports that that’s expected to change as the cars’ autonomous technology continues to improve … and, you know, they stop crashing into giant, stationary objects that are right in front of them.
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