A little over a year ago I bought a new truck. It's a really nice truck with lots of safety features that I like and a couple that I don't. One of the features will give me a warning if I stray out of my lane. The steering wheel will shake slightly. It's not a bad thing because sometimes you look down or maybe you lose attention and the feature can help you avoid an accident. Recently though, a warning message appeared on the instrument panel. The message said I appeared to be tired and should pull over. There was also a 'picture' of a cup of coffee.
I am still not sure exactly what I did while operating my vehicle that triggered the warning. I may have begun to sway out of the lane but that warning indicator was not activated or maybe I had slowed down then sped up. I'm just not sure. But I read an article recently that causes me great concern about this feature and how it will be used. You should be greatly concerned as well, unless you are a member of the Progressive Brown Shirts that like to control everyone's behavior and report us to authorities when we don't comply with your expectations.Former US Representative Bob Barr has been picking through the infrastructure bill trying to make people aware of how much pork, unrelated regulations, and government overreach is in the bill. One particular provision will require all automobile manufacturers to install a kill switch in every new vehicle they make. On the surface, as with many of these mandates, it might sound like a good idea. Police would have the ability to activate the kill switch causing a vehicle to stop if the officers are in pursuit and the vehicle driver refuses to stop. Especially if it is a high speed pursuit end innocent lives are being threatened. Who doesn't want to protect innocent people from being plowed by a drunk driver or criminal trying to avoid capture?
However, if you dig a little deeper you'll see a provision That will allow government authorities to monitor a person's driving in real time. If an algorithm determines the person is driving erratically or could be impaired, the kill switch would be activated and the car would be disabled. How does that even work? As I said, the monitoring system in my new pickup truck determined that I was possibly sleepy and driving in an unsafe manner. I still don't know what I did and certainly have no way to appeal my truck's decision.
Would this be a situation that if you violated the standard of safe driving twice within a certain time frame your vehicle would be shut off or is there a standard of how badly you are driving? Is there a difference between being tired and being impaired due to alcohol or drugs? Does the vehicle shut off immediately leaving you stopped in the middle of the roadway? Seems like that would create a significant hazard in and of itself.
Can you imagine if the artificial intelligence determines that you are impaired because you're driving above the speed limit and changing lanes quite a bit, in what the computer determines to be an unsafe manner, but you are doing so because you're on the way to the hospital with someone that needs immediate medical attention? I'm sure you can imagine several other scenarios, such as reaching in the backseat to slap some sense into your kids, in which you are certainly capable of operating the vehicle safely but the computer algorithms disagree.
This is also a matter of guilty until you can prove you are innocent, which would be an almost impossible task. I'm sure the police would send you a traffic ticket which would be impossible to refute because the "data" provided by the computer would likely be considered by a judge to be definitive proof of your impairment.
This is just another reason why we need governmental reform. This provision has nothing to do with infrastructure. According to Bob Barr, 90% of the spending and provisions of the infrastructure bill have nothing to do with roads, bridges, water systems, or anything else that you and I might consider infrastructure. Not only do we need term limits and to put a limit on how many days Congress can meet in a year, but we also need to have a requirement that anything in a bill must be specifically related to the intention of the bill. If it's an infrastructure bill then it must be infrastructure and cannot contain any amendments or provisions that are not specifically and clearly infrastructure programs. The same with any other bill.
I am still of the belief that if enough people spent five minutes a day to send an email to our representatives and senators, we could influence them. Maybe I'm wrong but I'd certainly like to see the effort made and be proven wrong.