Tags: kill switch | drunk driver | privacy

Car 'Kill Switch' Still a Threat

Car 'Kill Switch' Still a Threat

Monday, 20 November 2023 10:51 AM EST

I’m fired up and should be too! I recently covered what was snuck inside the recently passed $1.2 trillion 1,100 page infrastructure bill. It is a proposal to have a lockout device to be installed in all new cars. This is no joke and has already passed in Congress and the House.

Take a closer look at the Infrastructure bill they jammed through, specifically Section 24220. This mandates installation of equipment to listen to in-car noises and conversation, monitor eyes, and "kill switches" to automatically turn off your car. It states that all new cars in the United States will be required to install these kill switches by 2026. This section was passed allegedly to stop drunk drivers, but the law is very broad. The concern is that it may lead to government abuse of privacy, especially as the government wants more and more control over your car.

House Republicans failed to defund a federal “kill switch” mandate Tuesday night requiring all vehicles produced in 2026 and onward to feature technology that can automatically disable the vehicle “if impairment is detected.” This lays the groundwork for corporate and government access to monitor and interfere with personal movement.

By a vote of 229 to 201, the lower chamber rejected an amendment proposed by Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie to defund the mandate embedded in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Massie’s measure received 210 “no” votes from Democrats and 19 from Republicans. Just two Democrats supported the amendment and 199 Republicans voted for it. Eight members did not participate in the late-night vote.

Rep. Massie stated on X, “During debate last night on my amendment to defund the 2026 kill-switch mandate for cars, some Democrats claimed the technology wouldn’t monitor or disable cars.” He even read the actual law on the house floor. Has anyone else actually read this before voting for this clause - obvious not!

The 2021 infrastructure law passed by Congress requires car manufactures to include “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology” as “standard equipment” in vehicles. The provision requires such technology to “passively monitor the performance of a driver” and “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected.” In other words, manufacturers will be required to implement a “kill switch” mechanism on cars that can disable the vehicle based on performance.

The fact checkers say it’s no big deal and only about drunk driving — but this is far from true. This isn’t a breathalyzer. Thirty-one states already have ignition interlock devices where if you have been convicted of a DUI, you have to blow through that in order to start your car.

This bill also has the ability, it says, to require car manufacturers to somehow passively monitor the air in the car to see if you have been drinking. The problem with that is, what if you are the designated driver and you are trying to get somebody home who has had too much to drink? There is so many ways this could go wrong. It’s basically a backseat driver and nanny.

Massie noted that even Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of the most liberal members in the House, voted to remove the provision.

I truly hope that this is not added to motorcycles as well, as this will be very dangerous for riders. For cars, the negative impact could be deadly. Imagine avoiding a squirrel, pothole other issue then your vehicle thinks you are out of control and impaired and shuts down your vehicle on a dark road with no shoulder. What if you are rushing to the hospital or have taken a prescription drug?

For so many reasons, this is a very bad situation. There are many other ways to disable a car from drunk drivers. Who’s making the decisions? The car, the government, a third party or AI?

How do you appeal your conviction when you are sitting at the side of the road with a car that won’t run, who knows where, stranded?

This is a scary road — be very careful what we allow to happen. Safety or freedom — you can’t have both.

Do the research yourself and see if your elected representative voted for or against the removal of the line item.

I’ll put the roll call link in the description — call, email and write your elected officials this is a dangerous and overreaching.

Check out our new Car Smarts channel where we have more content that you’ll want to know about — the link is in the description and my social media

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Lauren Fix, The Car Coach is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.

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I'm fired up and should be too! I recently covered what was snuck inside the recently passed $1.2 trillion 1,100 page infrastructure bill. It is a proposal to have a lockout device to be installed in all new cars.
kill switch, drunk driver, privacy
Monday, 20 November 2023 10:51 AM
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