Rep. Massie Fights and Fails - To Stop Federal 'Car Kill Switch'

P. Gardner Goldsmith | November 14, 2023
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Comparing the pro-Constitution position of the congressman who tried to revoke a federal mandate for what he deems automobile “shut-off” devices to the positions of colleagues who pushed and propagandized in favor of keeping it might be an exercise in, as Rod Serling said at the start of each “Twilight Zone,” seeing the “signpost, up ahead.

The signpost is a warning for more federal government tyranny, coming in 2026.

After discovering that a 1,039 page 2021 statute called the “Infrastructure and Jobs Act” includes in it a provision mandating that, beginning in ‘26, automobile manufacturers must install a monitoring-and-shut-down "safety" system for all vehicles, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) tried on November 7 to eliminate the mandate.

Massie not only is a man who almost always votes to follow the US Constitution. He also is an engineer who holds multiple patents, so he understands both the unconstitutional nature of this mandate, and the unworkability of it.

On the House floor, he noted:

“My amendment is simple. It will defund the federal mandate that requires all new vehicles after 2026 be equipped with a kill switch that can disable a vehicle if the vehicle has monitored the driver’s performance and that the vehicle ‘determines’ that the driver is not performing well. It’s so incredible that I have to offer this amendment. It almost sounds like the domain of science-fiction, dystopian science-fiction, that the federal government would put a kill switch in vehicles that would be the judge, the jury, and the executioner on such a fundamental right as the right to travel freely.”

But, as one might have bet, his amendment did not pass.

Indeed, not only did it not pass, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FLA) took extra time out of her day (and used our tax cash) to not only oppose Massie, but to claim that this was not a mandate to impose something that would shut off a vehicle. She also insinuated that to oppose this federal mandate is akin to promoting drunk-driving.


Indeed, Wasserman Schultz seemed to chastise Massie, saying:

“Let me be clear. The act that the gentleman is trying to defund does NOT require auto manufacturers to install kill switches. It does not do that.”

And then she spouted pat lines about “passive drunk-driving technology” being a “vital tool in safeguarding our loved ones and other innocent people on our roads.”

Given her sketchy background running the Democratic National Committee (DNC, from 2011 to 2016), where leaked emails revealed that, under her “rule” the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders for the party Presidential nomination, and her evident lack of discernment in hiring (her former staffer, Imran Awan, and Awan’s wife were arrested in 2017 and charged with attempting to defraud the Congressional Federal Credit Union – itself kinda a big fraud pulled on all of us) one might wonder why she so emphatically tried to look like she was taking the “high road” on the mandate issue.

And one might not be surprised to discover that her claim was completely decoupled from reality – that she “pulled a kill switch on the truth.”

Indeed, after Schultz made her claim, Massie delivered the goods, posting on Twitter/X images of the actual statute from 2021 confirming that, indeed, the mandated tech would “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if impairment is detected.”


The leftist media were more than happy to peddle that line. USA Today, for example, splits hairs between a "kill switch" that can be used by police to shut down a person's car and "technology" that allows the car to deactivate itself, if it "detects driver impairment."

Automobile experts told USA TODAY the bill does not direct a kill switch to be implemented in cars, nor does it give any third parties, including law enforcement or government officials, access to the in-vehicle technology. Rather, the bill in question directs a federal agency to require technology that would detect driver impairment and disable the vehicle in that scenario. 

And how would such a mandated device “detect” impairment? Through programmed “performance monitoring” that the feds would command. 

Related: Biden Readies More Expensive, Fascist CAFÉ Mileage 'Standards' | MRCTV

Surely, one’s imagination abounds with examples of driving situations that a computer algorithm might mistake as “impairment.” Do you dodge potholes on the terrible government roads in order to protect the suspension and undercarriage of your car? Do you try to avoid squirrels or chipmunks or other friendly animals on country lanes? When you assess driving conditions to be good, do you go above the posted speed limit? How about going slow, on icy roads? What happens in a tunnel, if you have to swerve to avoid an accident?

Will multiple cars engage “kill switches” after they try to avoid a car that’s been shut down? What happens to traffic behind them?

Years ago, I used to joke to friends that the TV series “Knight Rider” might be something of a nightmare in reality, if KITT, the computer inside that famous car, took over, and the driver, Michael Knight, was unable to control the ride. Now, the joke doesn’t seem so funny. In fact, as Massie observed, it seems more like dystopian science-fiction.

This technology not only can impede the immediate and important processing and reaction power of a human driver, it could be used to monitor and, eventually, impose a federal “carbon tax” on drivers, and to impede trade. Similar to the ever more oppressive federal mandates and demands for driving logs imposed on long-haul truckers that have caused them such distress and contributed to the decline in the industry, “kill switch” monitoring tech holds the potential for more misuse and smothering of human rights, this time, of other drivers.

At the outset, the right to privacy -- to not being searched without a judge issuing a warrant -- is destroyed by this technology, and, as noted above, the tech opens a vast landscape of potential DC, state, and even local abuse.

Thomas Massie posted a roll-call list of the Congressmen and Congresswomen who voted for and against his amendment to defund this terrible federal imposition. Curiously, as Massie noted to Glenn Beck (see the embedded video of their chat), a leftist such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted in favor of it, while 12 so-called “Republicans” voted against. And Massie and Laura Ingraham discussed this shameful act by the 12 GOP-ers on a recent Fox News broadcast, which Massie also made available on his Twitter/X. The dirty dozen Republocrats who voted to keep the mandate were: Bilirakis (FL), Carey (OH), Fitzpatrick (PA), Fleischmann (TN), Garbarino (NY), Garcia (CA), Graves (LA), Joyce (PA), Kean (NJ), Kiley (CA), Kim (CA), Kustoff (TN), Lawler (NY), Mace (SC), McCaul (TX), Nunn (IA), Salazar (FL), Smith (NJ), and Thompson (PA).

And the key about it all is not what the legislation mandates. The key is the word, "mandate."

That ought to be enough for anyone with a hint of morality left in his or her soul to see the problem.

Not only are federal mandates on car makers unconstitutional, based on a misreading of the Interstate Commerce Clause (in Article One, Section Eight) of the Constitution, they simply are immoral and fascistic. They are threats, made by tax-funded politicians. They are threats of federal violence against people, telling them they must conform, making all car makers and anyone else effected by federal “mandates” prisoners through so-called “regulation.”

And in 2026 we will be even more tightly imprisoned – in our cars.

The problem begins with government – government claiming control of the roads (even as the various levels of government mismanage them and steer them into regions for political purposes, not the purposes we users might desire), government claiming so-called “regulatory” powers over what we make, sell, and buy, and government claiming “authority” over even the fuel we put in our cars.

In a privately run system of roads and vehicles, where real market competition allowed for us to choose what level of speed and safety we might want, we could have different kinds of users and cars on different kinds of roads. We would not be undercut by the Tragedy of the Commons, where everyone is thrown together.

And we would not have to suffer the indignity and the infuriatingly fatuous falsehoods of politicians like Wasserman Schultz as they claim their government impositions and threats are for our good, and that their impositions do something wonderful, rather than what they do:

They steal our freedom, breach the Constitution, and threaten market participants. That signpost.

It seems to say, “tyranny.”

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