New Vehicles Will Require OEM Installed Kill Switches - H.R. 3684
And some automakers are helping...
Soon enough the United States federal government could force automakers to install kill switches authorities can access and use to shut down any newer vehicle.
If you found this blog article, there is a pretty good chance that you're into trucks, SUV's, or at the very least, cars with respect to those who may just be involved in the outdoors. Or perhaps you found us because your adventurous significant other is a Jeep girl into shallow river crossings and light lunches under an awning or a man who just sweats excess testosterone while wrapping the synthetic line on winch drum tucked into his second gen Land Rover Disco after liberating a pinned trail buddy out of the last 40 feet of a rock garden after picking a bad line.
However you found us, or this article, you may just be someone who does not like having their life impacted or turned upside down, your privacy invaded, or because a couple few bad actors on the stage of life made worse decisions than the rest of us will tomorrow.. you'll see in a minute what I mean.
For context, in 1995 I was a wire-tech at supplier to Ford, United Technologies Automotive or UTA for short, and I worked on the 1998 Ford Explorer program doing last minute revisions in pilot plants. It was a tremendous opportunity at the time and as someone into vehicles, it allowed me to set a benchmark of standards in my work ethics that I adhere to still to this day. Longer story short, there was conversations heard amongst the engineers I favored for knowledge perks and I remember being told of the fears of closed hood laws and such but the one story that stuck in my head was how they wanted to make ECU's or PCM's that would be capable of shutting a vehicle down for various reasons.
The two examples out of a few in that conversation were expressed in the sense that if a store was robbed, through various means of information channels; license plate number, told of the possible owner but definitely the VIN of the vehicle and through a 2-way communication ping the vehicle, identify it as the vehicle in pursuit by way of speed sensors, hard braking, yaw & pitch sensors, and engine RPM and be able to shut a vehicle off as it came to a stop or slowed down enough that made it safe to do so.
The second reason described was even scarier, more now then back in 1995 but the vehicle would perform various system checks whether you were driving the car or it was tucked away in your driveway. The example used was that of the catalytic convertor failing on Bank 2. A sensor would verify such instance and trigger the system to send out a signal the the DMV via satellite, DMV runs the information verification, checks for registrations, valid insurance, and last valid known registered address as it prints up a letter where the DMV states, and I am paraphrasing it's existence - "It's come to our attention that your vehicle has informed us that a catalytic convertor is/has failed. You have 15 days to respond and 30 days to comply with current emission standards or your vehicle will be shut down until repaired in which if after the 45 days will be a late/reconnect fee due. Thank you"...
Sounds like Sci-fi or a really bad acting 80's episode of Night Rider gets an corrupted Alexa upgrade from Sound Wave of the Decepticons but this is where the industry is willing to go in order to keep selling vehicles in America, and where bureaucrats and lobbyists looking to profit from anything and every aspect to restrict freedom of movement and tax you for driving on public roads.
It just takes - a nod and a wire and they already spent $50M on all sorts of studies ranging from the unpopular drive per-mile driving privilege fees to other road use tax fees. The EPA has been literally raiding performance shops across the country enforcing the RPM ACT, nearly every manufacture making anything that changes airflow, fuel, spark, or the uncorking of exhaust has had or will have a visit soon.
Here is the bad news,
H.R. 3684 is in the infrastructure bill went before Congress Monday January 24,2022. it entailed the spending of $550 billion and curtailing your driving rights significantly by changing the way you travel in your private automobile, including how you may participate in vehicle related events like cruises, car meets, track days, back road shenanigans, or off-road adventures in places you may not have permission to travel through due to the re-wilding of local environment constraints no longer afforded freedom of travel merely for exploration.
To those that think, "well, thats not so bad, they can stop criminal activity and dangerous people fleeing Policy-Enforcement.. and crashing into another vehicle with a family or an old person inside." Being able to stop a pursuit early or soon after absolutely sounds like a wonderful thing does it not? Who wouldn't want that job credit with all the recognition of being the officer that gets to execute the "VPKS" (Vehicular Pursuit Kill Switch) and being the life saver of the moment? What law abiding citizen wouldn't want to align themselves with that thought process?
Anyone wondering what "law abiding citizen" constitutes as?
September 2021, New Zealand, overnight, a vehicle is stopped and its occupants arrested when police unmistakably identified during the stop that the trunk was completely full of Kentucky Fried Chicken Meals. Whether it was the warm buttermilk biscuits or the 12 herbs and spices of the extra crispy farm birds, they were smuggling the fast food to Auckland, New Zealand, against lock down and quarantine measures. Hours before, it was perfectly legal activity to be delivering food from restaurants. You may want to re-read your TOS Door-Dash drivers.
The kill switch, which is referred to as a safety device, must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.” (sic) Well Oliver, what does that actually mean?
It means Big Brother and his agencies will constantly be monitoring how you drive measuring whether your a pillar of the community or a threat to the public safety. But should you do something the system programming has deemed to recognize as driver impairment, your vehicle could find itself just shut off at a push of a button, which could be incredibly dangerous. Can you imagine how that would be on the 91 or 5 freeways in California? If it's anything like social media censorship AI systems, we may be really up a creek without a paddle, no pun intended.
There is also the possibility the kill switch program could measure your driving as impaired, then when you try to start the car up again the engine is locked out from stating. That would potentially leave you stranded, what if you were trying to find safety away from a threat in the wrong neighborhood?
But wait, there’s more. You knew I was going to say that didn't you?
This kill switch “safety” system would be open source, or for those not familiar, there would have to be a backdoor. This would allow police or other alphabet agency or authority to access it whenever. Would they need a warrant to do that? Likely not. What about hackers? could they access the backdoor and shut down your vehicle for hi-jinx or an added tool of cancel culture? We don't like what you think, believe, or who you voted for, and lock you out of your vehicle like automotive malware.
And returning back to legal interpretations, who defines and decides what the term "impaired driving" means? Currently it isn't defined by any legislation so does that leave that open regulators of the NHTSA or the DOT? Can you imagine the extent of algorithms written because you chose to pass someone or got to close to the line separating the lanes in a moment of brief distraction?
In closing disgust and concerns of this acute violation of your privacy, how you travel, even future vehicle ownership seems like just another cog in the machine trying to circumvent your freedom of movement for profit or restraint. There was never a debate on the house floor, not even at the senate floor at all about this issue. It was just blindly passed through some backroom handshakes and albeit some hi-fives. That should make you question is there a left and right argument even? Both sides just said.. MmmOk (?)
Some Additional articles of interest of other things in the passed Infrastructure Bill
What do you think of this? We really would like to see some engagement on this topic as this is going to affect all of the people you see every day and you.
Brandon Ford - Photo
Brian K - Photographer (Tacoma white)
NBC News - Photo
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