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The Kill Switch

The Kill Switch

White House, Take the Wheel

Hidden behind the din of the COVID and Russia emergencies, the state has found yet another cause that it can use to transform public life under the guise of safety: drunk driving deaths.

The first step in taking advantage of such a problem is to blow it out of proportion. Standard operating procedure calls for the use of an inflated number. Radley Balko pointed out in 2002 that instead of the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers, activists, courts, and legislators use “alcohol-related fatalities,” which includes, not just drunk drivers killing sober people, but sober drivers killing drunk people. He noted that “the Los Angeles Times examined accident data and estimated that in the previous year, of the 18,000 ‘alcohol‐​related’ traffic fatalities drunk driving activists cited the year before, only about 5,000 involved a drunk driver taking the life of a driver, pedestrian, or passenger.” Today, the “alcohol related fatalities” number is ubiquitous, with most people just substituting the term “drunk driving deaths” when citing it.

Another way they’ve given gravitas to their cause is to invoke the 9% spike in alcohol related roadway fatalities in 2020. That spike is part of a larger trend of increased roadway fatalities partly due to increased substance use during lockdowns and a lack of a police presence in the George Floyd era of policing. Traffic stops have decreased dramatically in the past 5 years and many cities are simply ignoring minor traffic violations for “equity.” The government locked us down so aggressively that we started killing ourselves and others while holding the police back, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving responds with, “Woah, woah, get the government in here, these people are animals!” Important note: MADD gets federal funding.

The activists, government agencies, car companies, and most of the visible internet push the line that the inflated deaths are “100% preventable” and should be prevented 100%, no cost analysis in sight. It’s another one of the ole utopian dreams that never really blossoms as everyone had hoped.

Legislation got us into this problem and by golly, it’ll get us out! Hidden away in the Biden Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act — and unable to pass as stand-alone legislation in 2019 — is a requirement that drunk driving prevention technology be built into cars starting in 2026. It calls for a device that will “passively monitor the performance of a driver,” detect the BAC level of a driver, and “prevent or limit vehicle operation” if the driver is deemed impaired. It’s oddly short and vague for people who are known to write tens of thousands of pages of soul crushing legislation, but a closer look at MADD reveals its intentions.

Their 2006 “Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving” began with the implementation of BAC “interlock ignition devices” where offenders must pass a breathalyzer to start their car. Punishing offenders is reasonable and going after serial drunk drivers makes the most sense, but now they’ve managed to legislate the drunk driving prevention technology mentioned above, which affects us all, guilty or not. Finally, the end goal of the campaign is autonomous vehicles for all.

MADD laid out some of their favorite driver surveillance tech in a 2021 press release. Toyota, Nissan, Volvo, and Subaru are currently developing cameras that monitor your face to detect impairment. Subaru and Volvo already have it in their lineup.

Volvo’s really taking the initiative and the moral high ground here. In 2019 they revealed their glorious and unquestionable aim to eliminate roadway fatalities. They’re practically levitating with arms outstretched and head tilted heavenward, speaking to you as a savior and welcoming you into a world free of responsibility. In reality, they’ve built cars that watch their drivers and tell on them.

Volvo tech monitors the driver for behaviors like “a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for extended periods of time, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction time.” Wait, extreme weaving? What about the extreme weaving I do on a monthly basis to avoid getting hit by the Google Maps Class? Not gonna let me get away with that, eh?

If the car detects dangerous driving, it would be able to slow down, park itself, and call for assistance. Then they get down to the nitty-gritty, “a driver monitoring system… is an important element of allowing the car to actively make decisions.” And you thought your seatbelt light/alert was annoying, just wait till your car starts making decisions. In case you’re feeling skeptical, Volvo ensures you that in the end, their new “systems all serve one single aim: to support safer driving.” Yeah right, I’ve seen The Matrix, I know how this goes.

The state’s singular focus on driving one number to zero, while ignoring everything else is a theme The Pamphleteer talks about often. It’s slave state logic. Lowering the COVID case count, for example, was used to justify lockdowns for healthy and sick people alike, which caused much deeper damage than COVID ever could. MADD’s “No More Victims” mantra and Volvo’s vision of a “future with zero traffic fatalities” are no different.

The political objectives of these “safety measures” are pretty clear at this point. It’s a part of the forced march towards an autonomous vehicle grid — an assault on privacy and private property, leaving us once again on the defensive. All they have to do is find or create another emergency to justify abusing this newfound power. Sound paranoid? After COVID, how could you not be?

Sure enough, MADD’s partners include Velodyne Lidar — a company that makes radar used in autonomous cars, Waymo — an autonomous driving tech development company, owned by Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, that has a fleet of autonomous taxis in Phoenix, and Uber and Lyft. So they’re a non-profit that “partners” with autonomous vehicle companies and is working with the government to legislate autonomous vehicles. It makes a man wonder where they were hiding their $11.9M in investments in 2018 and the $14M in 2020.

But hey, at least drunk driving won’t exist anymore. Time to take care of the 15x as many drug overdose deaths... Sike! Idiot.