WASHINGTON — Tesla Inc. has submitted a partial response to NHTSA's information request in an investigation of the electric vehicle maker's decision to allow video games to be played on the infotainment system while its vehicles are in motion.
NHTSA said Tesla's response "has been received and is being reviewed," according to a March 7 memo posted Tuesday to the agency's website.
Tesla has requested "confidential business information treatment for the entirety of the information request submission," the memo states, so it is unclear what information, or how much, was submitted.
NHTSA in December opened the investigation into an estimated 580,000 Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y vehicles from the 2017 to 2022 model years that are equipped with the Passenger Play feature, which allows gameplay to function on the front center touch screen while the vehicle is being driven.
The agency's Office of Defects Investigation opened the formal safety probe to evaluate the feature's driver-distraction potential.
Tesla shortly after pulled the plug on the feature and told NHTSA it will stop allowing games to be played on the center touch screen while the vehicle is being driven.
In January, NHTSA sent a letter to Tesla seeking more information to aid its investigation, including any consumer complaints; reports involving a crash, injury or fatality; and lawsuits that might relate to the feature.
The agency also asked Tesla to furnish a chronology of events and studies supporting its decision to deploy and then revoke the in-vehicle gaming capability.
Tesla needed to respond by March 4, or it could have faced civil penalties of up to nearly $115 million.