On November 14th the NTSB posted a press release titled “NTSB Calls for Technology to Reduce Speeding in All New Cars.” In the first paragraph, the NTSB cites its reason for this Orwellian demand: one tragic car accident that killed nine people in Nevada. They state:
“The National Transportation Safety Board investigation into a multi-vehicle collision in North Las Vegas, Nevada, last year that resulted in nine fatalities has led the board to recommend a requirement for intelligent speed assistance technology in all new cars. The board issued the recommendations Tuesday at a public board meeting after determining the crash was caused by excessive speed, drug-impaired driving and Nevada’s failure to deter the driver’s speeding recidivism due to systemic deficiencies, despite numerous speeding citations.”
You read that correctly. They recommended a requirement that all new car makers include active (vs. passive) monitoring for “intelligent speed assistance.” The tech would work this way: The on-vehicle camera system would monitor the roadways for speed limit signs. If a driver is causing the vehicle to travel over the posted speed limit, the vehicle would automatically make it exceedingly difficult for the driver to maintain that speed.
Many of you are familiar with passive monitoring systems. Almost all new cars nowadays have it, and you have total control over whether you want to use it. The car identifies a speed limit using a database and onboard cameras, and you can set a warning that would alert you if you travel over the posted speed. This new recommended requirement from the NTSB would essentially allow the car’s onboard computer system to control how you drive, all underneath a tyrannical government mechanism disguised as a safety measure.
We can’t continue without more details. The crash in Nevada involved a driver who was high on cocaine and PCP. The driver blew a red light at 103 mph, and unfortunately, the resulting accident was deadly. The NTSB doesn’t use his impairment by these substances as the main reason for their recommendation. Instead, they make sure to include that he had a “history of multiple speeding offenses.”
Additionally, they state that in 2021, speeding-related crashes caused 12,330 fatalities. While we lament every death caused by excessive speed, it sure is interesting how the government uses fatality numbers differently depending on which situation they’d like to insert themselves in or what narrative they’d like to craft. If only they paid attention when that many people reported adverse events or death after receiving an mRNA shot, the country would be a much different place right now.
The Biden Administration has been turning its ire on the auto industry quite a bit this past year. Last month, they insisted on a new mandate that would potentially bankrupt many manufacturers. The plan relies on fuel efficiency standards impossible to meet by liquid-powered vehicles. Ford estimated that the penalties it would pay for such fines could reach up to a billion dollars a year. They argue that money could be used for investment into their battery-powered vehicles or on pay raises for their employees rather than handed to the government as a tax on fuel-powered cars. From a Fox News story:
“NHTSA’s proposal is yet another attempt by the Biden administration to restrict Americans’ freedom to decide what vehicle fits their needs and budget,” Will Hupman, the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) vice president of downstream policy, said in a statement.
Combined with EPA’s proposed tailpipe emissions standards, these rules amount to a de facto ban on cars and trucks using liquid fuels, which can and should be a part of the solution to reduce carbon emissions,” he continued.”
For their part, at least on this topic, car dealers are pushing back. A coalition of 3,000 of them sent a letter to the Biden administration. The bottom line? Americans don’t want electric vehicles. They sit on the lots.
And there’s more. This month, Congressman Thomas Massie (R, KY) was raising alarm bells about a provision hidden in Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill. The “kill switch.” The line in the legislation mandates that vehicles actively stop drivers from operating their vehicles should the computer system on the vehicle detect what it considers impairment. The language reads like a passage out of “1984.” The manufacturers will be mandated to “passively monitor the performance of the driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver is impaired,” and “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected.”
The government wants in your cars, homes, brains, and lives, and there doesn’t seem to be any limit to the lengths they will go to get there.
As usual, because of their lust for power and control, it doesn’t seem they have really thought any of this through.
Who determines what constitutes impairment? How is that judged? What if you need to swerve to get around an oncoming vehicle? Will your car turn itself off on a whim? Who will be designing the software for this? Will it be standard across all vehicles? In the case of the speed restrictions, what if you are in an emergency and need to flee quickly but are also on a residential street? Would you be limited to 25 mph as you try to rush your family member to the hospital or flee a potential home invader?
And aside from those basic questions, who will tell town municipalities that the revenue they will get from speeding tickets will all but disappear? And who will tell the police that they can no longer use excessive speed to pull over a suspected criminal for a search? I’m afraid I have to disagree with that last one, on principle, but no one can argue it’s a gateway for police.
We began to see red light cameras in Arizona as early as 1987. “Your speed is being monitored by aircraft” signs litter Interstate 95 up and down the East Coast. And you certainly can’t drive in NY without someone watching you for some revenue. I know. I was there just this past week for a trip to see family. Is daddy government going to let New York know that in just a few years, all their revenue from speeding tickets and drunk driving arrests will evaporate? And on the electric car front, who is going to tell the Biden administration that lines to charge for the existing vehicles are unmanageable,
or that the cars are prone to issues and ridiculously expensive to fix?
These are just a few of the questions I have surrounding what amounts to yet another government power grab. We have a fundamental God-given right to travel enshrined in our Constitution. These policies inhibit that. The government needs to stay out of our bodies and out of our cars.