Will Senate Bill 1331 limit itself to stopping drunk drivers?

Is Senate Bill 1331 the path to virtually unlimited power for the Biden Department of Transportation headed by arch-leftist Pete Buttigieg? The bill, entitled “Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2021” (i.e., the RIDE Act of 2021) was ostensibly introduced to allow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve vehicle safety standards and prevent drunk or otherwise impaired driving. However, its broad language doesn’t stop there.

The Bill’s stated purpose is

To require the Secretary of Transportation, acting through the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to prescribe a Federal motor vehicle safety standard for advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology, and for other purposes. (Emphasis added.)

With the usual good intentions of curbing DUIs and enhancing crime controls, if passed, starting in 2026, SB-1331 will require that all new cars come equipped with tamper-proof software and factory “kill-switch” components. The bureaucrats hiding behind the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Human Services (HHS), are claiming that a new-and-improved “kill-switch” mandate will save us (from ourselves) reduce freeway carnage and prevent high-speed chases.

As our instincts tell us, “kill-switches” intended for intoxicated drivers may start having expanded uses. They might stop post-game auto accidents, including illegal drag racing; drinking and road rage (or ecstatic celebration), which often follow a nationally televised major sporting event. Even worse, imagine a terrified woman in her car, swerving away from a dangerous situation, only to have the government bring her car to a dead—and we mean “dead”—stop.

Moreover, you can readily imagine that this law is a gateway law to ever more government micromanagement, leading to a horde of collateral regulations. Perhaps we will see Federal Fat Laws, intended to prevent at-risk individuals from purchasing bacon, banana crème pies, chocolate-chip pancakes, or milkshakes.

During times of inflation, a Federal Investment Authority could easily be spawned from SB-1331, requiring government approval before inept (senior) citizens are allowed to spend more than $500 from their retirement or bank accounts. With millions of new skin cancers annually, who would object to a Federal Sunburn Law?

Image: Drunk driver (posed) by fabrikasimf.

SB-1331 is monumental, quantum-leap sideways. President Eisenhower warned of the dangers of the Military-Industrial complex, yet a more permanent alliance currently exists as an unholy union between Big Technology, Deep State bureaucrats, and health/safety zealots. All the camels’ noses are already inside the constitutional tent.

There’s also a risk that SB-1331 will allow tacit approval of many underutilized laws. The rapid expansion of new Health and Safety Checkpoints will be necessary and justified (“…and for other purposes…”)

An improved rendition of SB-1331 would include (“…for other purposes…”) enhanced Sobriety and Senility Checkpoints. After all, California already has sobriety checkpoints. Why shouldn’t the highway patrol officer have instant computer access to a list of all of your prescriptions, medications, psychiatric history, political affiliations, and vitamin supplements?

One especially troubling aspect of “…and for other purposes…” involves the possibility of “back-door” computer codes hidden within the electronic bowels of all post-2026 vehicles. What’s to stop foreign (or domestic) car manufacturers or even drug cartels from working on portable “kill switches” that will piggyback on law enforcement equipment?

It’s likely that Chinese tracking devices, having already been tested for several years, will be capable of locking (and unlocking) all doors in the suspect’s vehicle, home, or bomb shelter, so they can’t spread COVID or Monkeypox or hurt themselves trying to escape. There are rumors that the Chinese have already surreptitiously integrated electronic devices into our military equipment through the chips they manufacture and on which we depend.

It seems infinitely more dangerous (and naive) to allow paternalistic, well-intentioned bureaucrats, who can’t even run their own lives, to take control of our intoxicated keys and be left, unsupervised, to interpret those “...other purposes…”

So, what happens if someone yells “fire” in a crowded theater, and there really is a fire?

Dale Lowdermilk is the founder of NOTSAFE(.)ORG.

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