The “Kill Switch” . . . for the Car Industry

  • November 14, 2023

Electric cars have already cost the car industry billions; Ford estimates its losses alone are in the vicinity of $4.5 billion.

Cars the government controls may cost the car industry everything. 

Such cars are coming online less than two calendar years from now, when the first 2026 models become available sometime in mid-late 2025. These ’26 models will be the first models that the federal government will have supervisory control over via what has been misleading and maliciously sold to the public as “impaired” driver detection technology.

Often referred to as a “kill switch” to supposedly prevent drunks from driving, the fact is this “technology” will be used to monitor driver performance – these are the literal words used in the federal requirement – and a driver will be considered “impaired” by the “technology” when his “performance” falls outside the parameters of acceptable (to the government) driving.

It is not about preventing “drunks” from driving. It is about preventing you from driving in any manner the government decides it does not like.

And cowing opposition to this as being “for” drunk driving.

That is how Rep. Thomas Massie’s efforts to kill the kill switch were defeated recently. Nineteen Republicans were afraid of being characterized by Democrats as indifferent to drunk driving or even being supporters of it, as per the emotional incontinence of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Never mind, by the way, that “kill switch” would treat every driver as presumptively drunk even if they’d had nothing alcoholic to drink (of a piece with the normalization of probable cause-free roadside “sobriety checkpoints,” where drivers are obliged to prove they aren’t drunk before they’re allowed to drive away).

And so 19 timorous Republicans voted with the Democrats, defeating Massie’s attempt to kill the kill switch, which now appears to be on track to become the latest government-mandated feature few Americans will be unhappy to learn their next new car will come standard with.

Just like the air bags you’re also forced to buy and sit inches away from (even if known to be dangerously defective) there won’t be an off switch.

If you drive faster than the speed limit or even if you don’t but accelerate “aggressively” (as defined as anything faster than glacially) or “swerve” or brake hard, suddenly (even if necessary, as to avoid the kid that just ran into the road) or fail to come to a complete stop (and wait) at every stop sign then your “performance” will be considered “impaired” – and the car will pull itself over.

And as bad as that is, it could easily be worse.

Even if you do manage to drive within the allowable parameters, the government will still have the power to prevent you from driving at all any time it likes for any reason it likes. As for example when it declares a “climate emergency.” It won’t be necessary to lock people down.

Their cars will do that for them.

It’s hard to get far from where you live when you can’t go anywhere, except by foot.

But perhaps the most insidious aspect of this business is the power of the implicit and omnipresent threat that will be hanging over every driver’s head – i.e., the knowledge that the government could, at any time, throttle back the freedom to drive and for any reason at all. This is apt to result in something more than people souring on driving – having become passengers in their own cars.

It could sour them on buying one of these cars.

Who, after all, wants to make payments on something that isn’t really theirs because someone else can control it whenever they want to and lays down how they are going to allow it to be used? Imagine if the house you thought you bought had a front door that random strangers not only had a key to but legal power to open any time. A home that strangers not only had access to but could also decide whether they approved of how you were using it? And if they didn’t like the way you were using it, had the power to put you out of what you thought was your home – and lock you out of it?

Probably most people would stop paying their mortgages. Or at least, stop applying for them. Might as well just rent – and dispense with the fiction (and the cost) of owning.

The same could and likely will happen as regards cars with “kill switches” – once people realize they are paying for something they no longer control.

Might as well just pay for a ride at that point.

And this is something the car industry may not be able to afford – especially if people decide to just hang onto the cars they already own, over which they still have control.

. . .

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