Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

PSA: Use PIN-To-Drive or Keycard if you have small children

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
14,883
19,212
San Diego
I see zero reason for a kid to be playing in the drivers seat. There is no company that can design away all the ways that can go wrong.

I don't see a reason for a kid to be doing that, either. But that is not going to stop me from encouraging my 3 co-workers at work with Model 3s & small children to turn on PIN-to-drive, when I get to work tomorrow.

I don't want my co-workers run over, under any circumstances, and it's not going to make me feel better if they get run over because "their kid should not have been in the driver's seat" - especially since I know about this issue.

I also DEFINITELY don't want to hear any stories in the press about Model 3 owners getting run over by their children.

So, I posted the PSA. Spread the word about PIN-to-drive, people...
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: alexGS
My point is that the world isn't child safe, and it should be expected that the child will be hurt if left unattended.
This scenario can happen even when the child is attended.
Child is unstrapped from rear seat.
Parent is not physically holding child.
Child escapes and crawls to front seat.
Parent goes around front of car to retrieve child.
Parent is run over.
 

Matt L

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,050
1,685
OK USA
This scenario can happen even when the child is attended.
Child is unstrapped from rear seat.
Parent is not physically holding child.
Child escapes and crawls to front seat.
Parent goes around front of car to retrieve child.
Parent is run over.
You might as well throw in that your child memorized your PIN and then types it in quickly in order to run you over.

Better change the code daily.
 

Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,648
3,418
SF Bay Area
To some extent, this is similar, but the differences usually are:

1) Your key has to be in the car. That is not the case here. Both of my pushbutton start vehicles locate the key within the vehicle with quite high precision. If those keys are outside of the frame of the car, they do not start. I don't know how they do this, but they do it (2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid and 2016 Chevrolet Spark EV), quite reliably. It's possible if you get within 6 inches of the frame it will work. But if I'm in front of the vehicle with my key, they definitely won't.
Part of the reason is probably that traditional keyless entry systems use a different wireless technology and different frequencies (315MHz) than Bluetooth (2.4GHz ISM band). However, it is possible to estimate the distance from a BT device using time-of-flight measurement (e.g. Apple does this when you use an Apple Watch to unlock your computer). Not sure if Tesla does something similar.
2) Usually you have to press a push button start (in modern pushbutton start vehicles, the brake must be depressed to use the pushbutton start - at least in my two modern vehicles), or put a key in the ignition first.

3) After the ignition is activated, and engine is on, the brake must be pressed before actuating the shift lever.
Yes, the same UI changes that make a Tesla simpler to operate for adults make it also simpler for kids ...
 
  • Like
Reactions: AlanSubie4Life

cypho

Member
Dec 20, 2018
841
1,042
USA
I do not think that tesla should be expected to do anything at all to prevent toddlers from driving their cars. That is 100% the parents job.

But I totally agree with the OP that everyone with small children should enable the pin feature. Every parent spends quite a bit of time "baby proofing" their house, of course you should also do whatever you can to baby proof the car.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
14,883
19,212
San Diego
You might as well throw in that your child memorized your PIN and then types it in quickly in order to run you over.

This actually isn't really true in most cases of interest. The issue is one of the SIZE of the child. The thing is, when the driver door is open, as soon as weight is removed from the driver's seat and the brake pedal is not pressed, PIN-to-drive REQUIRES the PIN to be entered again.

It also requires that the brake pedal to be hit to bring UP the PIN to drive in the first place.

So, practically speaking, the child would have to be tall enough to simultaneously sit in the seat and trigger the occupancy sensor AND hit the accelerator pedal. This simply is not possible for very small children, so it is substantial protection for children, probably up to the age of at least 5-6, depending on height.

Quite separately, even if it were possible, of course, there is the fact that it is another step, and takes some time to enter the code. It’s actual several additional steps for a small child (close door, press brake, crawl up, enter code, crawl back down while keeping weight on seat) and makes it highly improbable for them to be able operate the vehicle.

Obviously, a large enough child with access to the PIN (they will learn it!) could run you over - in those cases, if you don't trust the child, don't use phone as key, and keep the keycard with you (I think that will protect you).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: alexGS

Leafdriver333

Somewhat Active Member
Mar 21, 2019
1,071
910
usa
I do not think that tesla should be expected to do anything at all to prevent toddlers from driving their cars. That is 100% the parents job.

But I totally agree with the OP that everyone with small children should enable the pin feature. Every parent spends quite a bit of time "baby proofing" their house, of course you should also do whatever you can to baby proof the car.
also, I would highly recommend you change the PIN every few hours because the kids can remember 4 digit number from the back seat.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
14,883
19,212
San Diego
also, I would highly recommend you change the PIN every few hours because the kids can remember 4 digit number from the back seat.

Again, even if you have a precocious toddler, PIN-to-drive will protect you, on account of the child's height.

I will double check the seat belt and driver's door interlocks for PIN-to-drive, but I believe (based on my memory - I had to turn it off to duplicate the rollaway defeat behavior) it is entirely based on the seat occupancy sensor. So it would not be sufficient for the child to close the driver door and buckle the seat belt. As soon as the toddler slides off and unweights the seat to reach the pedals, the PIN-to-drive would require the code again.

I'll double check the exact requirements. But it definitely re-arms constantly if the car gets the impression you are no longer in the driver's seat. That's the whole purpose of PIN-to-drive!
 

nvx1977

Unknown Member
Nov 25, 2017
3,070
7,224
NH, MA
I'll say that 100% of the time when my kids were still toddlers, they were strapped into their car seats by me before I got into the car. They were unstrapped by me when I got to my destination and the kids exited the car straightaway. There was never a situation I would unstrap my kids and then let them crawl around the cabin (attended or unattended). So I guess I solved the problem via the parenting way and not the PIN way.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
14,883
19,212
San Diego
There was never a situation I would unstrap my kids and then let them crawl around the cabin (attended or unattended). So I guess I solved the problem via the parenting way and not the PIN way.

This is good, and I think it's important to ensure that children are not in the driver's seat, even with that ever-so-tempting large display (with games)!

However, I think we need to be empathetic to the corner cases, where due to unusual circumstances, a child might be left unwatched for a total of about 5 seconds. For those cases, I think it would be good to encourage parents of young children to turn on PIN-to-drive.

As much as I might think the parents could have "been better parents," in the event of an accident, I don't know the particulars, and I also don't think we need to read about the aftermath of someone getting run over by a Model 3 by their child in a news article.

So I'd encourage getting the word out there for PIN-to-drive, and impressing upon people just how easy it is to get the car moving - for a child. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the Model 3 owners who are parents out there don't understand how easy it is. And I'm willing to bet that more than 90% of the Model 3 parents think their "phone key" needs to be in the car, in order for the car to move.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brisket5652

TMThree

Active Member
Mar 28, 2019
1,120
1,816
USA
Part of the reason is probably that traditional keyless entry systems use a different wireless technology and different frequencies (315MHz) than Bluetooth (2.4GHz ISM band). However, it is possible to estimate the distance from a BT device using time-of-flight measurement (e.g. Apple does this when you use an Apple Watch to unlock your computer). Not sure if Tesla does something similar.

The Model X can not only tell how far, it can triangulate what direction you are heading. The self presenting doors don't open unless you are walking towards the driver's door. If you head to the trunk, or are walking parallel to the vehicle, it won't open.
 
Hmmm...I don’t want to be rude but this may be more of a parenting issue than design issue.

I see zero reason for a kid to be playing in the drivers seat. There is no company that can design away all the ways that can go wrong.
Actually, you are being rude. I don't even have kids, and blaming the parent because kids being kids is ignorant. Of course, no parent is going to purposely put a child in that position, but I know that when I was a child, I got into all sorts of stuff that I shouldn't have without my parents know.

The OP point is valid and the Solution is relatively simple to implement.
 

ngogas

Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,725
1,195
Utah
Come to think about it, it is always safer to require some type of acknowledging like pin to drive even when there is a phone in the car. Convenient over safety.

After stewing over this a bit and thought about having the pin on in the past, I think I’m going to turn it on just for safety sanity.
 
I'll say that 100% of the time when my kids were still toddlers, they were strapped into their car seats by me before I got into the car. They were unstrapped by me when I got to my destination and the kids exited the car straightaway. There was never a situation I would unstrap my kids and then let them crawl around the cabin (attended or unattended). So I guess I solved the problem via the parenting way and not the PIN way.
This is impressive. Keeping physical control of two kids at the same time is probably not something that most parents are able to do 100% of the time.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
14,883
19,212
San Diego
What is the probability of this happening?

It's pretty low, but definitely can happen. Use your imagination with the picture in the first post, combined with my video:

Model 3 Rollaway

All the small child has to do is push on the brake, reach up with a hand to pull down on the gear selector, then push accelerator fast enough after releasing the brake. And the phone has to be in the vicinity. That's all. It could literally take a couple seconds.

The safest is to require weight and seat belt fasten in order to drive.

This is sort of already required, but unfortunately there is a "gap" in the interlock coverage that is intended to prevent rollaway (see the video), which is why there is an issue at all. In this case, "sort of" is not good enough. Really the video in conjunction with the picture is the best way to see the problem.

I think I’m going to turn it on just for safety sanity.

I didn't notice as much delay with PIN-to-drive with the latest 16.2 software, so I'm hopeful on that front it will be improved. The lagginess on response to touches seems related to the car sleeping perhaps. We'll see. In any case, parents of small children should turn it on; it is minimal overhead.

If you do not have small children, and you won't be transporting small children, and you are not worried about security, I think the risk of not using PIN-to-drive is pretty small. PIN-to-drive does not provide any significant additional protection against rollaway or unintended acceleration, for adults.
 
Last edited:
The door won't unlock with the phone by the front tire. I had to open the door first, leave the phone by the front wheel, and get in the car.
Due to the vaguaries of Bluetooth the range of the phone key varies. Sometimes I have to take my phone out of my pocket and up to the window for my car to unlock.
After the car is unlocked the phone key range may increase as you discovered so it might stay in range even as you walk around the front of the car.
I don’t think phone key range should be relied upon as a failsafe.
 

Matt L

Active Member
Jul 20, 2018
1,050
1,685
OK USA
This is good, and I think it's important to ensure that children are not in the driver's seat, even with that ever-so-tempting large display (with games)!

However, I think we need to be empathetic to the corner cases, where due to unusual circumstances, a child might be left unwatched for a total of about 5 seconds. For those cases, I think it would be good to encourage parents of young children to turn on PIN-to-drive.

As much as I might think the parents could have "been better parents," in the event of an accident, I don't know the particulars, and I also don't think we need to read about the aftermath of someone getting run over by a Model 3 by their child in a news article.

So I'd encourage getting the word out there for PIN-to-drive, and impressing upon people just how easy it is to get the car moving - for a child. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the Model 3 owners who are parents out there don't understand how easy it is. And I'm willing to bet that more than 90% of the Model 3 parents think their "phone key" needs to be in the car, in order for the car to move.
Actually, you are being rude. I don't even have kids, and blaming the parent because kids being kids is ignorant. Of course, no parent is going to purposely put a child in that position, but I know that when I was a child, I got into all sorts of stuff that I shouldn't have without my parents know.

The OP point is valid and the Solution is relatively simple to implement.
Thats fine. As a parent of two boys, I feel qualified in this area. Kids playing around in the drivers seat is a supervision issue, not a manufacturer problem.

Yup, his solution is valid. So is maintaining control of your kids.
 

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top