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HomeGalleryWhy Are People Bothered About Automotive Kill Switch Mandates?

Why Are People Bothered About Automotive Kill Switch Mandates?

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After President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, several claims made rounds in the media. While some claimed that the President signed a bill that would infringe on their civil rights, others claimed it was for safety reasons.

A picture of what the Driver Monitoring System looks like
Source: Pinterest

However, as more people began to speculate that law enforcement agencies would be able to shut down future cars for any reason, there has been a surge of panic. 

The Automotive Kill Switch 

In November 2021, the United States President, Joe Biden, signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Contrary to the public’s belief, the bill was to maintain and upgrade the country’s roads, bridges, ports, and more.

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A picture of President Joe Biden signing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
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However, one provision in the bill has caught public attention as it aims to prevent drunk driving deaths. The provision states that all new vehicles must include “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology” as “standard equipment.”

The Reactions

Since the law passed, some social media users have misinterpreted the provision online. Many falsely claim it will give the authorities access to data collected by the technology or allow the government to shut down cars remotely.

A picture of a car with a driver monitoring system
Source: Pinterest

“Joe Biden signed a bill that would give law enforcement access to a ‘kill switch’ that will be attached to ALL new cars in 2026,” read several posts shared widely on X and Facebook.

The Rebuttals

While the public’s reaction to the claims was predictable, nothing prepared Americans for the following rebuttals. The rebuttals stated that everything is above board and nobody should worry about government overreach. They also said that manufacturers already equip vehicles with driver monitoring systems.

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A sign used to show that something is fake
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In addition, they designed fact-checking websites to counter other fact-checking websites with false narratives. Ultimately, it boils down to trying to shape a desired opinion.

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What Will the Legislation Do?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to make the relevant decisions concerning implementing the controversial bill. Consequently, nobody knows what the legislation will bring into effect.

A pictoral representation of the functions of DMS
Source: Pinterest

However, since the Act aims to prevent drunk driving deaths, some believe implementing the Act will eventually result in some form of driver monitoring. Others think it is a precaution that should have been in place long ago.

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How Will the Driver Monitoring System Work?

The driver monitoring systems will likely be an ignition interlocking device requiring drivers to utilize a breathalyzer before setting off. Also, reports suggest it might be a comprehensive driver monitoring system that uses audio-visual cues to determine the driver’s present status.

A picture of a person driving under influence
Source: Pinterest

However, the latter seems the more likely option. Modern automobiles have microphones that transmit control inputs and positional data. Hence, the Act doesn’t seem like much.

Do Cars Have Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) Yet?

According to reports, the automotive industry has begun installing in-cabin camera systems to help track what occupants are doing. Initially, the concept was a way to safeguard from distracted driving.

A picture explaining how the Driver Monitor System works
Source: Pinterest

However, it seems like a free pass for an industry that now seems utterly obsessed with data mining its customers. Consequently, many are concerned about their privacy due to fear of the unknown.

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Do Other Countries Have the DMS?

Not long ago, the Western governments dismissed the idea of networked vehicles and driver monitoring. They referred to the concept as something that only happens in authoritarian countries. However, they appear to be changing their tune.

A picture of a car with Driver Monitor System
Source: Pinterest

The European Union plans to establish a mandatory “Driver Monitoring System” (DMS) under the guise of public safety. Interestingly, they’re also supposed to go into effect in 2026.

Is the Driver Monitoring System in America Similar to that of the EU?

No, the United States presented its version of the DMS a little differently. Since the American audience is more liberty-minded, the American government simply copied Europe’s DMS and changed a few keywords to appease the citizens and avoid accusations of plagiarism.

A picture of a how Driver Monitor System works in a car
Source: Pinterest

However, reports suggest that the result will likely be highly similar, depending on how the NHTSA interprets the rules.

What Do the Corporate Press Think?

The corporate press thinks people shouldn’t worry about the forthcoming system’s potential to violate civil liberties. However, critics say the corporate media is concluding on an assumption of government benevolence.

A picture of the press interviewing someone
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People have lost faith in the corporate press since it downplayed criticisms of the scheme in March 2023. In addition, many believe there is a conflict of interest as the corporate press once quoted the company president creating the so-called safety devices.

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 The Corporate Press and the Government vs. the People

The corporate press stated that the Act includes security measures that prevent third parties from accessing any data the technology collects.

A picture of the US capitol, Washington D.C.
Source: Pinterest

However, that is an impossible guarantee to make. In addition, it feels like another instance of the corporate world getting into bed with the government for its benefit. Because there is no other reason to advance the things regular people aren’t asking for.

Are the Critics Right?

Although nobody knows what will happen in 2026, the Act leaves too much room for trespassing to government regulators. Still, that does not make critics who believe the government will abuse novel safety technologies as they please correct.

A picture showing the right and wrong option
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But seeing how corporate press outlets dismiss valid public concerns as false has ramped up over the years, makes many second guess their opinions. 

Are the People Right to Worry?

Everyone exclaiming that there will soon be ways to turn off vehicles remotely is living in the land of conjecture. But so are the groups asserting that there’s no cause for concern.

A picture of a worried person
Source: Pinterest

When matters like this arise, there are often conflicting narratives, with both sides having an agenda. However, it is up to people to thread carefully to figure out what’s real.

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