Rep. Biggs Advocates For Ban On Kill Switches In Vehicles

November 22, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) is advocating to pass a ban on kill switches in personal vehicles. 

Kill switches allow for the remote shutdown of a vehicle. There are variants of the technology all dedicated to the preventing or limiting vehicle operation: fuel line shutoff valves, battery disconnect switches, remote car battery switches, ignition wire switches, and fuse box switches.

In an interview with Newsmax over the weekendBiggs said that the promise of safety against drunk driving under a kill switch belied the alleged motive of greater governmental control.

“Think about this: there’s already black boxes in your cars. We know that abuse of FISA — the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — against American citizens, we’ve seen the weaponization of government,” said Biggs. “And, ostensibly, this is to stop drunk drivers, supposedly. But this car’s going to be able to monitor the alcohol content of a driver, but they can kill it [the car] at any time because it’s a passive surveillance technique.”

Biggs speculated that kill switches in cars could be appropriated for other purposes, such as government-declared emergencies like the ones enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“So, let’s say you have another COVID outbreak. Let’s say they determine that you haven’t been vaccinated,” said Biggs. “Can they then go ahead and kill switch your car? It’s a control thing.”

Biggs’ remarks followed continued controversy over the kill switch provision in President Joe Biden’s 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Section 24220, “Advanced Impaired Driving Technology,” requires that drunk and impaired driving prevention technology become standard in all new vehicles. The section defines that technology as that which can passively monitor the driver’s performance to determine impairment and then prevent or limit any driving of the vehicle. Additionally, the technology would be able to passively detect whether the blood alcohol content of a driver, and prevent or limit any driving of the vehicle if the driver’s blood alcohol content is higher than the legal limit. 

Passive detection includes technology that measures blood alcohol content while the driver breathes or touches certain parts of the car. 

For breath-based passive detection, sensors are typically installed in the driver’s side door or in the steering column, and infrared light sweeps the breath for alcohol molecules. Companies maintain that their passive detection technologies are capable of distinguishing between driver and passenger breath.

For touch-based passive detection, tissue spectroscopy sensors on areas like the ignition button shine infrared light to measure blood alcohol content.

Biden’s bill directed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop policy fulfilling the directives of Section 24220 within three years. After that, automakers would have up to three years to adhere to the new standards. Under that timeline, kill switches could be standard in new vehicles by 2026. 

On Monday, Biggs and 32 other members of Congress — including Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-09) — signed onto a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg expressing concern about the potential surveillance abuses from the forthcoming technology. 

“The potential to misuse this technology to surveil American citizens without a warrant poses a threat to constitutionally protected rights of freedom of association, as well as the protection from unreasonable search and seizure,” stated the letter.

The letter asked Buttigieg to explain the difference between impaired and drunk driving, how kill switch technology would detect a drunk driver in a moving vehicle, how the agency-mandated technology will work and examples of any present existence of it, what passive monitoring under the agency directives will entail, whether cameras would be used and if the video would be stored, how the technology would differentiate between defensive driving and drunk driving, any safeguards to ensure protections for those with certain disabilities, the safety implications and possibility of secondary accidents, for how long a car would be disabled and the procedure for handling stranded drivers, the impact of kill switches on road congestion, any law enforcement notification procedures, and who bears liability for accidents caused by disabled vehicles. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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