Video: Tesla Model 3 Pulled Over For Having a 'Computer' Attached to the Dash

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
video tesla model 3 pulled over for having a computer attached to the dash

Saying the Tesla Model 3’s interior is polarizing would be a massive understatement. While some absolutely love the minimalist design and singular, tablet-like interface, others criticize it for being too barren to be considered interesting. The vehicle also saw some blowback over its centrally mounted 15-inch display, which, for several reasons, can serve as a potential distraction to drivers.

In fact, it’s so big that one Washington resident found himself pulled over by a motorcycle cop for having what was presumed to be a computer attached to his dashboard.

Tesla enthusiast Jon Hall recorded the encounter on September 29th. The video was promptly shared by InsideEVs. After the stop, the initiating officer (or state trooper, as it’s unclear) notifies Hall that he’s not allowed to have his computer mounted on the dashboard, invoking a brief laugh from the driver. Hall even jokingly asks the cop if he’d like to help him remove it. However, the immediate response from the officer isn’t encouraging.

At this point, it becomes apparent to Jon that he needs to clarify that this is how the car came from the factory. “This is stock with the car,” the driver explains. “Like, this literally is my only center console.”

Realizing his mistake, the policeman extends an apology after further explanation from Hall on how the Tesla Model 3 functions. He then sends him on his way.

It’s easy to scoff at the law enforcement official’s lack of automotive knowledge and chalk this up as a funny misunderstanding, but he brings up a good point. There really isn’t much difference between the Model 3’s humongous central display and something like an iPad. However, Tesla’s not the only potentially guilty party in this. Other automakers have adopted a similarly high-mounted, tablet-like design for their infotainment displays over the last few years. Granted, they aren’t as big, but they’re not all that different in terms of function.

Even though the officer was on two wheels, InsideEVs tapped into some delicious irony by noting that police cruisers are universally equipped with dashboard-mounted computers. It also said that, if the concept cars are anything to go by, traffic stops like this are about to spike. It’s increasingly rare to see any conceptual design that doesn’t incorporate a glut of large, interactive screens.

Whether this is dangerous or not depends on who’s being asked. Automakers don’t seem to think there’s any danger, but a AAA study last year found most infotainment systems are not satisfactorily intuitive to be considered truly safe to use. It claimed that the best solution is to prohibit drivers from using in-car technologies while in motion — making exceptions for “legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving related purposes.”

[Image: Tesla]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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2 of 38 comments
  • JimZ JimZ on Oct 02, 2018

    that guy perfectly demonstrates the punchability of typical Tesla fans.

  • Tummy Tummy on Oct 02, 2018

    We've had our Model 3 since January and also a Model S I got two years ago. Before the Teslas we had the BMW i3, Smart ED, MB SLK350, MB ML63 AMG, E500, Infiniti FX45, Audi TT, BMW 323i.... I've had a lot of cars the last 15 years all with different user interfaces and controls. I find the touch screen on the 3 and S a lot easier to use than Mercedes COMAND and BMW iDrive. The large screen in the Teslas are also much easier to see navigation maps, your music selections as well as the visualization of the cars around you from the autopilot cameras. Many things are set once and are saved in the driver profile so you rarely need to adjust it again (Seat, steering wheel, mirrors). If you know how to use a smartphone and google maps, you will know how to use the touch screen on the Teslas. There are a lot of functions that are voice activated and work really well like music and navigation. For cars, it takes about 25 years before new innovations become mainstream. Prius came out 22 years ago and now almost all new cars will be electrified in some way. It's faster for electronics, but expect it will take a few years before people get use to having an all digital dashboard. Just like it took people a while to give up their blackberries with keyboards when the iPhone came out.

  • ToolGuy "Mr. President, no government agency, no think tank, and no polling firm knows more about the automobile customer than us. We talk to customers every day. As retail automotive dealerships, we are agnostic as to what we sell. Our business is to provide customers with vehicles that meet the needs of their budgets and lifestyles.”• How many lies can you fit into one paragraph?
  • Spamvw Three on the tree, even Generation X would have a hard time stealing one of those.
  • ToolGuy This trend of cyan wheels needs to end NOW.
  • Kwik_Shift Interesting nugget(s) of EV follies.
  • SaulTigh I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you really cared about the environment you'd be encouraging everyone to drive a standard hybrid. Mature and reliable technology that uses less resources yet can still be conveniently driven cross country and use existing infrastructure.These young people have no concept of how far we've come. Cars were dirty, stinking things when I was a kid. They've never been cleaner. You hardly ever see a car smoking out the tail pipe or smell it running rich these days, even the most clapped out 20 year old POS. Hybrids are even cleaner.