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

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,147
10,640
San Diego
I mean- no, it's demonstrably not- otherwise none of those other accidents could've happened.
Haha. That's certainly an interpretation of what happened in those tragic accidents. I would say that those accidents were caused by the kids having the keys to the car.
If a child opens a gun safe with the key would say that the problem was that the child had access to the gun safe or the key?
"Letting a kid who should be bucked into a car seat in the back roam freely, and climb into the drivers seat" is not "supervised" by any rational definition of the term.
I guess kids never go anywhere they're not supposed to go or do anything they're not supposed to do while supervised. Would it be unreasonable to let a child out of a car seat with one parent in the passenger seat while the other parent goes into the store? Would it be unreasonable to let your kids be inside the car while you wash it? Both of those are scenarios where there could be a safety issue even when most people would consider the child as being "supervised". It's impossible to predict all the scenarios where this could be an issue.
Sure- or in this case, for any car, either don't have a little child inside at all, or have them inside buckled into a car seat- which AFAIK is actually required by law in most states.
I would be very surprised if there is a law requiring children to be buckled into a car seat when the car is off.
 

derotam

Member
Oct 31, 2018
871
836
Oak Hill, VA
I think "safety issue" is a very neutral term

It can be neutral, or it can be specifically defined towards a particular thing as the OP did by saying that they see a safety issue with the Model 3.

Actually, it does not, at all. I did not use this word in the OP

Sorry, I clumped all those terms as a generalization of various terms that people use as synonyms..but now that I think further it could be appropriate that the issue as you describe and others have confirmed could be said to be a flaw in the interlock system on the vehicle...does it come to the point of a reportable(to NHTSA) as a full on safety issue, that can be debated.

The term safety issue can be neutral but the problem with that idea is that if you go to a news organization and say there is a "safety issue", they are likely to blow it up to more than what it may actually be because well....ratings, or bias... That is why I take issue with generally using the term safety issue unless you are legitimately concerned enough to scream it at the top of your lungs, call the media, send in the info to NHTSA...etc. People blow things up enough at it is.
 

TKGA

Member
May 21, 2019
151
124
Kansas City
It's ok. I don't worry about them! Just trying to stick to the facts as I know them and get the information out there. People can make their own decisions; I just want people to know. There has actually been remarkably little "trolling" in this thread. Just a lot of people expressing their opinions, which they have every right to. I just want the silent majority to have the info, and spread the word!
I'm one of the silent majority (relatively silent) who appreciates your video and test. I think for a car like this it is even more important - I anticipate my kids seeing that you can play games on the car using the steering wheel and buttons. It isn't a stretch for them, even though they are pre-teen, to get in the car when I'm around it and try to play with the options.

Putting in a PIN to start makes sense - until my kids are older I'm going to do this. Thanks! Also amazing how much the Tesla is more like other tech products than it is like a car!
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,190
14,241
San Diego
That is why I take issue with generally using the term safety issue unless you are legitimately concerned enough to scream it at the top of your lungs, call the media, send in the info to NHTSA...etc.

My priority is to eliminate any possible weaknesses as quickly as possible, in the interest of maximizing safety, so I thought it would be most effective to simply report my observations to Tesla. Which I have done. The ball is in their court as far as whether they want to make changes. For us, in the meantime, we have PIN-to-drive. I did not mention PIN-to-drive to Tesla as a "solution" in the email, as I was focused on describing the behavior.

I have received an acknowledgement from Tesla of the report but that's it so far. If you have other suggestions for how to report it to Tesla, you're welcome to suggest them or report it yourself through those channels.

And yes, it kills me that I wrote " owner's " rather than " owners' " ;)

Tesla_email.jpg
 
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derotam

Member
Oct 31, 2018
871
836
Oak Hill, VA
My priority is to eliminate any possible weaknesses, in the interest of maximizing safety, so I thought it would be most effective to simply report my observations to Tesla. Which I have done. The ball is in their court as far as whether they want to make changes. For us, in the meantime, we have PIN-to-drive. I did not mention PIN-to-drive to Tesla as a "solution" in the email, as I was focused on describing the behavior.

I have received an acknowledgement from Tesla of the report but that's it so far. If you have other suggestions for how to report it to Tesla, you're welcome to suggest them or report it yourself through those channels.

View attachment 415841

Hey I'm all for reporting to them anything that they may have missed in their code, or unintended operation things. I am always interested in little niche scenarios like thing and since I don't have my kids for a few days here, I'll probably do some tests on my own to look at the interlocks.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,673
23,268
NC
I guess kids never go anywhere they're not supposed to go or do anything they're not supposed to do while supervised.

I mean, if the toddler even can unbuckle themselves, there'd still be plenty of time to notice them doing so and attempting to climb up front- so it's a pretty easy thing to prevent if the kid is actually being supervised.


Would it be unreasonable to let a child out of a car seat with one parent in the passenger seat while the other parent goes into the store?

Probably, yeah.... if just one parent is running in that's gonna be a quick stop, why waste a bunch of time unbuckling and rebuckling the kid for that?



Would it be unreasonable to let your kids be inside the car while you wash it?

Yes.

Since there's no way you'd be supervising them while washing the exterior of the car.


I would be very surprised if there is a law requiring children to be buckled into a car seat when the car is off.

Isn't your whole point that the car isn't ever really "off"? :)
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,147
10,640
San Diego
Isn't your whole point that the car isn't ever really "off"? :)
Yes, without PIN-to-drive a Model 3 is effectively "on" whenever the key is near the car and the design of the drive lever allows even very small children to shift it in to drive.
Child seat safety laws seem to only apply when you're "transporting" children and have nothing to do with whether the car is "on" or not.
 
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TKGA

Member
May 21, 2019
151
124
Kansas City
It is thought provoking to think about how cars went from a 3-step process to turn it on (insert key, foot on brake, turn key) to a 2-step process (foot on brake, push button) to a 1-step process in the default Tesla (foot on brake).

With a 1-step process for “on” kids who want to play with the giant iPad toy in the center of the car could open and close doors, raise and lower the suspension, turn on the Whoopie cushion and pull levers to make it fart etc.

PIN to turn on is different for a car but it’s making more and more sense to me as I think about it.
 

derotam

Member
Oct 31, 2018
871
836
Oak Hill, VA
It is thought provoking to think about how cars went from a 3-step process to turn it on (insert key, foot on brake, turn key) to a 2-step process (foot on brake, push button) to a 1-step process in the default Tesla (foot on brake).

With a 1-step process for “on” kids who want to play with the giant iPad toy in the center of the car could open and close doors, raise and lower the suspension, turn on the Whoopie cushion and pull levers to make it fart etc.

PIN to turn on is different for a car but it’s making more and more sense to me as I think about it.

It's still a 2 step process (Key proximity, Foot on brake), the issue here is the proximity of the key.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
13,673
23,268
NC
Yes, without PIN-to-drive a Model 3 is effectively "on" whenever the key is near the car and the design of the drive lever allows even very small children to shift it in to drive.

Which is why keeping the kid out of the drivers seat is a great plan.



Y
Child seat safety laws seem to only apply when you're "transporting" children and have nothing to do with whether the car is "on" or not.

I mean- you're the one who brought up on/off....

But let's stick with "transporting"

If you're about to transport your toddler from home to someplace else- they start outside the car- agreed?

They should only be going in to the car secured in a child seat as the law requires. It's physically impossible for them to drive the car from there.

When you get where you're going, they should be removed from said car seat and taken out of the car.


At no point before, during, or after the journey, should it be possible for the toddler to be in the drivers seat.



If you and your spouse are both in the vehicle, and the kid is in the car seat in the back, again- it's impossible for the kid to do so.

If you stop someplace for one of you to run in for a few minutes there's 2 possibilities:

1) The passenger parent runs in. It remains physically impossible for the kid to get into the drivers seat since there's an adult in it.

2) The driving parent runs in. In which case the phone/key goes with them. Also- kid should STILL be buckled into the car seat since you're in a public parking lot where a car could smack into you so again it'd be impossible for the toddler to drive the car anywhere.






Also it's really weird but I've gotten several disagrees on an earlier post that was essentially just saying little kids in cars should be in car seats. Some folks here apparently really don't like children.
 

derotam

Member
Oct 31, 2018
871
836
Oak Hill, VA
My priority is to eliminate any possible weaknesses as quickly as possible, in the interest of maximizing safety, so I thought it would be most effective to simply report my observations to Tesla. Which I have done. The ball is in their court as far as whether they want to make changes. For us, in the meantime, we have PIN-to-drive. I did not mention PIN-to-drive to Tesla as a "solution" in the email, as I was focused on describing the behavior.

I have received an acknowledgement from Tesla of the report but that's it so far. If you have other suggestions for how to report it to Tesla, you're welcome to suggest them or report it yourself through those channels.

And yes, it kills me that I wrote " owner's " rather than " owners' " ;)

View attachment 415841

HEY! Why didn't you mention that the phone as key didn't need to be in the vehicle! Out of the ENTIRE vulnerability that you defined in your OP the phone as key NOT being in the vehicle seemed to be the BIGGEST issue to me!
 

Nocturnal

Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Aug 23, 2018
6,913
39,014
Deepening Crisis!
No matter what this isn't any different than most modern vehicles in terms of risk. Adding pin to drive is certainly a good idea for many reasons.
HEY! Why didn't you mention that the phone as key didn't need to be in the vehicle! Out of the ENTIRE vulnerability that you defined in your OP the phone as key NOT being in the vehicle seemed to be the BIGGEST issue to me!
Is that accurate? I thought the phone had to be inside to actually drive it. It's no different a vulnerability than wireless key fobs are.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,190
14,241
San Diego
HEY! Why didn't you mention that the phone as key didn't need to be in the vehicle! Out of the ENTIRE vulnerability that you defined in your OP the phone as key NOT being in the vehicle seemed to be the BIGGEST issue to me!

Because I didn't have that in my video. Also I haven't explored ALL the scenarios of "key outside the car" - I've just tested it once. So I didn't want to focus on that. I agree that it is generally a big issue to be aware of (that issue can be an issue for other security reasons as well). I'm sure Tesla is well aware of it too; this was a letter to Tesla so I didn't think it was necessary to detail that.

Is that accurate? I thought the phone had to be inside to actually drive it. It's no different a vulnerability than wireless key fobs are.

Most modern push-button start vehicles have quite accurate key location; the key has to be roughly within the frame of the vehicle. On some (most?), you can put the key in your hand outside the window, and it will not start. It is presumed this is done through triangulation.

This is (currently) not the case with Model 3. The exact proximity required I don't know (it is a relevant test for this discussion), but I am at least able to drive with the key a couple feet away on the ground outside the car, while I can't with my other vehicles.
 
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Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,147
10,640
San Diego
Which is why keeping the kid out of the drivers seat is a great plan.
Yes but even the greatest plans sometimes fail. The fact is that not everyone was aware of this issue. Maybe you have always put your kids in car seats outside the car and then put them into the car. That would certainly make it safe but it is not common behavior.
No matter what this isn't any different than most modern vehicles in terms of risk.
What other vehicle specifically are you talking about? Give an example.
Is that accurate? I thought the phone had to be inside to actually drive it. It's no different a vulnerability than wireless key fobs are.
Multiple people have tested this and found it to be true but it will probably depend on the phone you use. The technology in wireless key fobs is much more accurate at locating the key. Not sure why.
 

richyrich

Member
Apr 13, 2018
774
693
Ottawa
Sorry but this is all a bit silly. I believe it was well meant but OP you've got a bit obsessive. You don't have kids and you don't realize that responsible parents don't leave their kids playing in cars, especially at the age of the "proof" photo near the top of this article. It's ridiculous TBH. And as for toddlers getting into a Model 3, I struggle as an adult to open the doors some days.

If this is a risk then so are a thousand commonplace household objects by the same logic. Write to all the kitchen knife manufacturers - lots of kitchens have them, any toddler could access them in seconds by standing on something and could seriously injure or kill themselves. Must be stopped!
 
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TKGA

Member
May 21, 2019
151
124
Kansas City
It's still a 2 step process (Key proximity, Foot on brake), the issue here is the proximity of the key.
If you are counting key proximity then it is 3-step for a manual key, 3-step for an ICE key fob, and 2-step for Tesla. The relative comparison still stands - Tesla removed a step.

I love how simple the Tesla 2-step on feature is - but the question this thread raises is whether there are unintended consequences of that. Interesting question to think through.
 

SwedishSTIle

Member
Oct 16, 2018
67
104
SoCal
This discussion should not be centered around letting a child do x y or z. It should be centered around the existence of the risk. As an attentive, reasonable and intelligent parent of two small children all I can say is this: Sometimes, despite your very best efforts and attention, your child manages to get into something they are not supposed to. A good parent is usually close enough and attentive enough to prevent an accident. But accidents happen.

I was recently standing 10 feet from my two year old at the edge of our pool which, when we are not in it is covered by a safety net. We were going in the hottub so the net was off. I told her not to get in the water. She said "ok daddy" and started walking back to me. My wife behind me asked me a question, I turned my head to answer her and heard a splash. Turn around, 2 year old in the pool. 2 seconds later I am fully clothed in the pool with a giggling 2 year old. She is fearless when it comes to water and will sprint headlong into the pool for fun when we are in it.

That SAME 2 seconds in a car that can get to 20-50 mph in that time frame...reason for concern.

I envision this:

I open my car door and tell my 4 year old to open the door for her sister. They can both climb into the car, get in their seats, and my 4 year old can buckle her top buckle on her seat. My wife comes out to give me a hug or hand me something I have forgotten and my 2 year old who is a FAST climber, climbs in the seat behind me, tries to stand up under the steering wheel and grabs the gear stock. Presto accidento.

Everyone on here that is SHOCKED that someone would LET their kid in a driver seat clearly hasn't the faintest ****ing clue, doesn't have children or is trolling.

Thanks for the PSA. Pin to drive enabled.
 

Daniel in SD

Well-Known Member
Jan 25, 2018
7,147
10,640
San Diego
Sorry but this is all a bit silly. I believe it was well meant but OP you've got a bit obsessive. You don't have kids and you don't realize that responsible parents don't leave their kids playing in cars, especially at the age of the "proof" photo near the top of this article. It's ridiculous TBH. And as for toddlers getting into a Model 3, I struggle as an adult to open the doors some days.
People really need to read the thread before they comment. This has nothing to do with leaving your kids unattended in a car. If they are unattended the car won't start! Also as has been pointed out numerous times a toddler can climb from the rear seat to the front seat quite easily. There is no need for them to open the door.
If this is a risk then so are a thousand commonplace household objects by the same logic. Write to all the kitchen knife manufacturers - lots of kitchens have them, any toddler could access them in seconds by standing on something and could seriously injure or kill themselves. Must be stopped!
Responsible parents do not leave knives in reach of toddlers. This is a well known issue that they take efforts to mitigate.
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,190
14,241
San Diego
It's still a 2 step process (Key proximity, Foot on brake), the issue here is the proximity of the key.

It is thought provoking to think about how cars went from a 3-step process to turn it on (insert key, foot on brake, turn key) to a 2-step process (foot on brake, push button) to a 1-step process in the default Tesla (foot on brake).
To enter DRIVE:

Pushbutton start vehicles: My two non-Tesla vehicles, starting with an open door:
1) Key inside frame of car. If it's outside the door (say, on the ground 2 inches away, or UNDER the car), it won't start. For my Spark EV, if I hold it more than about 6 inches outside the window, it won't start.
2) Hold brake, push start button.
3) Hold brake, push button on gear selector AND simultaneously pull gear selector to Drive.
(You can then drive with the accelerator.)
(Obviously for non-push-button start vehicles you are out of luck without the key in your hand, assuming car has been parked properly, and it is not a manual transmission.)

Tesla Model 3, starting with an open door (no PIN-to-drive):
1) Have phone key in general vicinity of vehicle. It can be outside the frame of the vehicle (I have found that it needs to be within about 6-8 feet, but I don't know how variable that is and how much it depends on where outside it is).
2) Hold brake, pull down shift lever to enter Drive.
(You can then drive if you are quick on the accelerator.)


Rollaway Protection:
Non Tesla:
I don't believe either of my other vehicles have any ACTIVE rollaway protection (meaning, if it is left in Drive and you open the door, it beeps a lot, or sounds a continuous high pitched tone, but just goes). They make noise, and the Spark EV makes an electrical sound from a speaker in the wheel well to audibly warn you the car is in drive, but other than those audible cues, no active protection.

Tesla:
Rollaway protection for an adult generally works great, and is active when the car is in Drive. If at least 2 of 3 conditions are met (seat belt unbuckled, no one in driver seat, driver door open), then it will shift into park upon release of brake pedal - with the exception of the "defeat" (quick accelerator after brake release), detailed in the video.
Model 3 Rollaway Protection

For a very young child, who has no idea what they are doing, you could see this being a problem, which is the entire purpose of this post/thread.

Tesla Model 3 With PIN-to-drive:

The PIN-to-drive interlock is based on the driver door and the occupancy sensor, and is brought up by the brake pedal. If the door is open, pushing the brake will bring up the dialog. You can enter the PIN without weighting the occupancy sensor. However, weighting and then unweighting it will force it to require the PIN again. With the driver door closed, this "protection" does not exist; you can weight and unweight the seat.

Sequence with PIN-to-drive:
1) Have the phone key in the vicinity.
2) You must know the PIN and how to bring up the dialog and how to enter it.
3) Press brake. You can release it. This brings up dialog.
4) Enter the PIN without weighting the seat sensor (assuming open door). If you do weight the seat sensor, you must keep it weighted. See details above.
5) Hold brake, pull down shift lever.

I would say that configuration ranks the Model 3 as the safest by far of modern vehicles that I know of. Obviously caution with your children is still advised, but I would say that is very safe for very young children. Do I recommend you then let your child roam around the car unattended? No. However, this is a "fail-safe" setup for the car. People can now be informed and make the appropriate choice for themselves, based on their personal situation.
 
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TKGA

Member
May 21, 2019
151
124
Kansas City
Sorry but this is all a bit silly. I believe it was well meant but OP you've got a bit obsessive. You don't have kids and you don't realize that responsible parents don't leave their kids playing in cars, especially at the age of the "proof" photo near the top of this article. It's ridiculous TBH. And as for toddlers getting into a Model 3, I struggle as an adult to open the doors some days.

If this is a risk then so are a thousand commonplace household objects by the same logic. Write to all the kitchen knife manufacturers - lots of kitchens have them, any toddler could access them in seconds by standing on something and could seriously injure or kill themselves. Must be stopped!
This response reminds me of the Dan Akyroyd sketch about the toy maker defending his “bag o’ glass” toy :)

Can you imagine any plausible scenario where a kid might be unbuckled and touching the screen or pedals or steering wheel in the car while the key is nearby? Any scenario where it’s unintended and not neglectful parenting?

Over millions of miles of driving and years of Tesla car ownership is there a 0% chance of this happening?

How about a kid touching door handles, even if buckled (it happens, over millions of miles of driving it happens enough where we invented child locks.)

I’m starting to view the Tesla like other tech. I’ve got a password to purchase apps on the iPad so my kids can’t accidentally buy stuff. Needing a PIN to drive makes sense. Might even make sense for households with teenagers, alcohol around, etc. Might also make sense as an anti-theft feature or as a 2-factor authentication feature.
 
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