Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Mandate A Government-Controlled 'Kill Switch' In New Cars In 2026

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Mandate A Government-Controlled 'Kill Switch' In New Cars In 2026 Misinterpreted

Did President Joe Biden sign a bill mandating that a "kill switch" that is accessible to law enforcement be installed in every new car in 2026? No, that's not true: A section of Biden's bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act only mandates the implementation of impaired driving prevention technology in new cars after a vehicle safety standard is established for the technology. The impaired driving prevention technology does not amount to a "kill switch," and there is no evidence that the data collected using the technology will be sent to law enforcement.

The claim appeared in an Instagram post on February 22, 2022. It included a meme stating that Biden's infrastructure bill would require a "kill switch" to be installed in every new car in 2026. The caption reads:

Infrastructure bill approved by #JoeBiden has given US government access to a 'kill switch' in all new vehicles from 2026.

🚗 This 'kill switch' can remotely stop any vehicle the Govt wants, without any Court authorization.

This is how the post looked on March 4, 2022:

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Mar 4 20:07 2022 UTC)

There is no indication in the bill that it allows for a law enforcement-operated "kill switch," which, as the Instagram post suggests, is a mechanism that allows a device to be turned off in an emergency when the device cannot be turned off normally. Rather, the bill mandated a vehicle safety standard for advanced impaired driving prevention technology, found in section 24220 of the infrastructure bill. The section is titled "Advanced impaired driving technology."

According to the section, impaired driving prevention technology can passively gauge whether a driver is impaired and if they are, can limit or stop the operation of the driver's vehicle.

In an email to Lead Stories on March 4, 2022, Jake McCook of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, explained that DADSS is a collaboration between the federal government and automakers through the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS). He cited the cooperative agreement between the government and the industry, in which ACTS is the "recipient." He said the agreement states the following:

'The Recipient agrees to adopt or establish operating procedures and physical security measures designed to protect these Data from inadvertent release or disclosure to unauthorized third parties.'

Therefore, the data collected from the proposed impaired driving prevention technology is required to be protected by ACTS.

In an email sent on March 4, 2022, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration referred us to some of the subsections of section 24220. Subsections (c) and (d) state that the vehicle safety standard about impaired driving prevention technology must be established within three years after the enactment of the law. Then, the compliance date by automakers of the standard should be between two and three years after the standard is issued. That means that new cars with the impaired driving prevention technology could begin to be produced by 2026 or 2027.

However, subsection (e) of section 24220 states that if the proposed vehicle safety standard is not finalized within 10 years of the enactment of the bill, a report must be submitted to Congress describing why the standard wasn't finalized.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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