Soon the government might shut down your car.

President Joe Biden’s new “bipartisan infrastructure law” gives bureaucrats that power.

You probably didn’t hear about that because when media covered it, few mentioned the requirement that by 2026, every American car must “monitor” the driver, determine if he is impaired, and, if so, “limit vehicle operation.”

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., objected, complaining that the law makes government “judge, jury, and executioner on such a fundamental right!”

Congress approved the law anyway.

A USA Today “fact check” told readers not to worry: “There’s no kill switch in Biden’s bill.”

“They didn’t read it, because it’s there!” says automotive engineer and former vintage race car driver Lauren Fix in my new video. The clause is buried under Section 24220 of the law.

USA Today’s “fact check” didn’t lie, exactly. It acknowledged that the law requires “new cars to have technology that identifies if a driver is impaired and prevents operation.” Apparently, they just didn’t like the term “kill switch.”

But it is a kill switch.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants that.

I say to Fix: “It would save lives.”

“Are you willing to give up every bit of control of your life?” she asks. “Once you give that up, you have no more freedom. This computer decides you can’t drive your vehicle. Great. Unless someone’s having a heart attack and trying to get to the hospital.”

The kill switch is just one of several ways the government proposes to control how we drive.

California lawmakers want new cars to have a speed governor that prevents you from going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

That would reduce speeding. But not being able to speed is dangerous, too, says Fix: If “something’s coming at you, you have to make an adjustment.”

New cars will have a special button on the dash. If you suddenly need to speed and manage to find the button when trying to drive out of some bad situation, it lets you speed for 15 seconds.

For all these new safety devices to work, cars need to spy on drivers. Before I researched this, I didn’t realize that they already do.

The Mozilla Foundation reports that carmakers “collect things like your age, gender, ethnicity, driver’s license number, your purchase history, and tendencies.” Nissan and Kia “collect information about your sex life.”

How? Cars aim video cameras at passengers. Other devices listen to conversations and intercept text messages.

Then, says Mozilla, 76% of the car companies “sell your data.”

“I just bought a new car,” I say to Fix. “Nobody told me about this.”

“Oh, it’s there,” she replies. “Buy a new car, you get that really long document. … The small print says, ‘We’re collecting your data. We know everything you’re doing in your car, and we own [the data]. There’s nothing you can do about it.’”

Finally, Biden’s infrastructure bill also includes a pilot program to tax you based on how far you drive.

“A mileage charge seems fair,” I say to Fix. “You pay for your damage to the road.”

“Correct,” she replies. “But when you start allowing them to do this, they could say, ‘We don’t want you to buy a firearm.’ … ‘We don’t want you to go to that destination. So we’re not going to let you start your car.’ It’s about control.”

I push back. “They’re not controlling me.”

“They can,” she replies. “Wait until you get a bill for your carbon footprint. ‘You’re at your maximum for carbon credits. We’re not going to let you drive today! Take the train. Take the electric bus.’”

“This is paranoia,” I suggest.

“Maybe,” says Fix. “But so far, everything that I’ve said about these things, each step keeps coming through.”


The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.