US Government Forces Cars to Have ‘Kill Switch’ Available to Law Enforcement

Recent infrastructure bill clause requires new car manufacturers to put a “kill switch” in vehicles manufactured from 2026 allowing law enforcement access to vehicle.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Biden administration infrastructure bill had a quiet addition that would require vehicle manufacturers to add a “kill switch” on vehicles made from 2026 forward, according to Reclaim The Net.
  • The bill dictated that the “switch” be available to law enforcement to not only remotely shut down a vehicle but also “passively” monitor the use of the vehicle in order to “accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.
  • According to the text of the bill, in addition to monitoring for impairment, they plan to “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected.”
  • While details about how they plan to assess drivers is limited, the bill also states that law enforcement would be allowed to “passively and accurately detect whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver … is above the legal limit.”
WHAT REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING:
  • Former Rep. Bob Barr, a Republican from Georgia, said in his analysis of the measure that it is “disturbingly short on detail.”
  • The former lawmaker also said that “use of the word ‘passively’ suggests the system will always be on and constantly monitoring the vehicle. Secondly, the system must connect to the vehicle’s operational controls, to disable the vehicle either before driving or during, when impairment is detected. 
  • “Thirdly, it will be an ‘open’ system, or at least one with a backdoor, meaning authorized (or unauthorized) third-parties can remotely access the system’s data at any time.
  • “This is a privacy disaster in the making, and the fact that the provision made it through the Congress reveals — yet again — how little its members care about the privacy of their constituents.”
BACKGROUND:
  • A similar piece of legislation has gone into effect in the European Union which states that cars there need to be outfitted with technology that records their driving data, according to Reclaim The Net.
  • Beginning on July 6, 2022, car manufacturers are being required to add a system that is somewhat similar to the black boxes used in aircraft that keeps tabs on driving in order to record technical information.
  • Included in the information gathered will be “the vehicle’s speed, braking, steering wheel angle, its incline on the road, and whether the vehicle’s various safety systems were in operation, starting with seatbelts.”