Thomas Massie Roasts Lawmakers Who Voted in Favor of Mandating a ‘Kill-Switch’ in Every Vehicle

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AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) is one of a very few voices of sanity in Congress doing his level best to keep the rest of his colleagues from passing legislation intended to move the United States ever so much closer to full-blown authoritarianism.

In a frustrating, but predictable turn of events, Democratic and Republican lawmakers, in an effort to get in touch with their inner Soviets, voted down a measure introduced by Massie that would have done away with a provision in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requiring automakers to install kill-switches in vehicles (allowing them to be turned off remotely).

While arguing against the kill-switch provision, Rep. Massie referred to it “a backseat driver” for American drivers. During an appearance with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, he laid out the issues with the requirement.

People said I’m a conspiracy theorist for saying this is in the legislation, but I actually had to read the Democrats the bill that they passed two years ago. They passed this in 2021 as part of a 1,039-page bill to require that your car can monitor your driving performance and if it thinks you are not driving well, it could disable your vehicle.

Massie continued, further highlighting the potential problems that could arise when these kill-switches are installed in every vehicle.

Imagine you’re a mom with kids in the car and you’ve swerved for a deer, and then you pulled over for an emergency vehicle to go by and you’ve only got one swerve left. I mean, before it shuts you down and takes you to the side of the road. My question is, how do you appeal your conviction when you’re sitting at the side of the road with a car that won’t run? Who knows where? Stranded.

The lawmaker explained that the device could “passively monitor the air in the car to see if you’ve been drinking.”

The problem with that is what if you’re the designated driver, and you’re trying to get somebody home who’s had too much to drink? There’s so many ways this could go wrong. It’s basically a backseat driver, a nanny.

Massie then brought up the issue of privacy and government surveillance.

How do you know if somebody’s driving well on the road they’re on, unless you know which road they’re on, so you need to know their location. Who has access to this information? Is there going to be a camera that’s watching your face as you drive to make sure you’re looking at the road? Who gets that data? 

The provision is included in Section 24220 and mandates that all cars manufactured after 2026 would have to feature the kill-switch. Massie’s amendment would have removed this provision, but it was defeated by a 229 to 201 vote. Interestingly enough, 19 Republicans voted to keep the kill-switch requirement in the legislation.

The device, which is ostensibly intended to curb drunk driving, would passively monitor a driver’s performance and, if it detects impairment, disable the vehicle. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Not so fast, dear reader.

I’m reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s famous line: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” This requirement almost perfectly embodies Franklin’s warning and presents a deceptive trade-off: Allow the government to have control over your car in exchange for possibly saving a few lives from drunk driving.

But at what cost?

In essence, this law is yet another way the government seeks to insert its authoritarian tendrils further into our lives under the guise of trying to keep us safe. As much as I hate to admit it, this is a brilliant and insidious way for the government to seize more power over our lives. It is more than a simple slippery slope – this device will not be limited to drunk driving; it is sure to expand to other areas as well, as the state continues concocting new and creative ways to violate our natural rights.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I see auto manufacturers suffering financially over this nonsense as consumers will keep their older cars running longer to avoid this nonsensical train wreck i for one will keep mine plus it will drive the prices of older cars up as well as people will seek to avoid it!

  2. Thank you for voting this down. Please list the names of
    Republicans that voted for this Bill. We will give them the Kill Switch at Election time. Thank you

  3. Well, you see, that “Kill Switch” is one program line away from “And the government turns off your car when THEY decide your freedom is not wanted”. Drunk driving? Driving while republican? Driving before voting? Before protesting? Driving after protesting? Driving after protesting taxes?

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