NTSB Recommendation: Unreasonable Search and Seizure

 

Ostensibly as a result of a horrible fatal head-on car crash in California, the National Traffic Safety Board is recommending a new “feature” to be installed in all new cars.  That would be an “alcohol detector,” so every car would have the kind of ignition interlock system now required by some states for convicted drunk drivers. Every driver, in every vehicle, would essentially have to take some kind of test, either by touch or breath, to make sure he or she has not been drinking.  So, without your consent, the Government would essentially live in your car, collecting data on you every time you turn on the ignition.

I can think, off the top of my head, of dozens of reasons that this would be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Starting with “guilty until proven innocent” by your having to prove that you are not drunk before having use of your own property (violates due process as well as search and seizure).  The government mandating installation of any monitoring equipment in your car could lead to their being able to disable it at will (if your car is an extension of your home, might this be modern-day “quartering of troops” in your home?).  Also, the article mentions that current systems require a monthly subscription fee, so not only would you not have control of your own vehicle, you’d have to pay for the privilege of not having control!

Here’s a quote from the Fox News article linked above.

NHTSA is already working on the topic as the infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden in 2021 included a requirement for all vehicles to be equipped with passive alcohol interlocks, which would make them inoperable if a high blood alcohol level is detected. The law dictates that regulations be developed within three years and gives automakers two years to comply, but allows the Department of Transportation to extend the periods, if technically necessary.

Just another reason to buy your new car now, and not later.

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  1. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    It’s also one more thing that could break and mean that your car is unusable.  Which could be especially bad if it happens in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere…

    • #1
  2. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    And didn’t I read somewhere that this breathalzer mandate was actually in one of the “stimulus” bills, so NTSB didn’t just cook it up themselves?

    • #2
  3. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    This will result in the complete collapse of the automobile industry, and an explosion in the used car/auto repair markets.

    • #3
  4. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    This will result in the complete collapse of the automobile industry, and an explosion in the used car auto repair markets.

    At least for a while, until they make it illegal to register cars without it.

    • #4
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    This will result in the complete collapse of the automobile industry, and an explosion in the used car auto repair markets.

    And move up a lot of peoples’ plans to buy a new car.  My old 2008 car is still excellent, but due to the ban in my state on gas cars starting in 2035, and now this, I will be buying my new car within the next year, if not sooner.

    • #5
  6. Red Herring Coolidge
    Red Herring
    @EHerring

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    This will result in the complete collapse of the automobile industry, and an explosion in the used car auto repair markets.

    And move up a lot of peoples’ plans to buy a new car. My old 2008 car is still excellent, but due to the ban in my state on gas cars starting in 2035, and now this, I will be buying my new car within the next year, if not sooner.

    One reason I traded my 2010 in December.

    • #6
  7. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    kedavis (View Comment):

    It’s also one more thing that could break and mean that your car is unusable. Which could be especially bad if it happens in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere…

    Or worse – in downtown Portland.  But I suppose it’s the same thing.

    • #7
  8. She Member
    She
    @She

    Isn’t driving under the use of certain drugs, including marijuana, also illegal because they impair one’s motor control and response times?

    Are there plans for a device that monitors for the presence of such drugs as well?

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    She (View Comment):

    Isn’t driving under the use of certain drugs, including marijuana, also illegal because they impair one’s motor control and response times?

    Are there plans for a device that monitors for the presence of such drugs as well?

    Marijuana is legal in many states now, and I understand that impaired driving is common.  Regardless, this kind of mandate is clearly unconstitutional, and will probably be sent straight to the courts, once the regulation is published.  That won’t happen for at least three years, and never if a Republican administration stops it.

    • #9
  10. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Isn’t driving under the use of certain drugs, including marijuana, also illegal because they impair one’s motor control and response times?

    Are there plans for a device that monitors for the presence of such drugs as well?

    Marijuana is legal in many states now, and I understand that impaired driving is common. Regardless, this kind of mandate is clearly unconstitutional, and will probably be sent straight to the courts, once the regulation is published. That won’t happen for at least three years, and never if a Republican administration stops it.

    One of the problems with marijuana as I understand it is there is no agreed standard as to what constitutes being too impaired to drive.

    If the Republicans gain control of the congress this year, this unconstitutional regulation is yet another item that needs to be defunded/repealed. 

    • #10
  11. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Mayor Pete must be giggling with delight.  

    • #11
  12. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Any car built in the last 20 years is a brick once an EMP flash fries the microchips. Go old, go bold.

    • #12
  13. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    tigerlily (View Comment):
    If the Republicans gain control of the congress this year, this unconstitutional regulation is yet another item that needs to be defunded/repealed. 

    It was in the “Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.”

    32 Republicans voted for it. 

     

    • #13
  14. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Any car built in the last 20 years is a brick once an EMP flash fries the microchips. Go old, go bold.

    Your car not starting would be just one of many problems you would be dealing with after an EMP flash and none of us would be happy living that 1850 lifestyle

    • #14
  15. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Sisyphus (View Comment):

    Any car built in the last 20 years is a brick once an EMP flash fries the microchips. Go old, go bold.

    Your car not starting would be just one of many problems you would be dealing with after an EMP flash and none of us would be happy living that 1850 lifestyle

    At one point there was a plan to bootstrap civilization afterward, but it was likely never properly funded and now we have very important indoctrinations to conduct. We must have priorities.

    • #15
  16. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    While I haven’t had a drink since January 5, 2001, this policy is nuts and one more thing to go wrong and disable your car.  At the same time, Coconino County is 30% Native, and drunk driving is at a crisis level.  If I have loaned my car to someone, or my car were stolen, I would want that driver to be stopped.  I have a couple of devil’s advocate’s questions.

    First, what if this system did not turn off your engine, but turned on your hazard warning lights which might give law enforcement probable cause to pull you over?

    Second, what if this system did not turn off your engine, but sent a message to law enforcement along with your location?

    Third, what if this system did not turn off your engine, but both turned on your hazard warning lights, and sent a message to law enforcement along with your location?

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    We already have designated drivers.  Now we’re going to have designated “breathers,” people in every bar who charge a small fee to start a customer’s car . . .

    • #17
  18. kedavis Inactive
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Stad (View Comment):

    We already have designated drivers. Now we’re going to have designated “breathers,” people in every bar who charge a small fee to start a customer’s car . . .

    Or just fill a balloon before they start drinking, and use the balloon to start the car.

    It could also give new meaning to “canned air” unless the sensor can tell the difference.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy has never Member
    Misthiocracy has never
    @Misthiocracy

    Highway traffic laws are tricky.

    The NTSB’s proposal could pass constitutional muster because it has long been acknowledged that the state is allowed to impose conditions on the right to drive on public roadways. This is why one is required to have a driver’s license, and why one cannot use the fourth or fifth amendments as an excuse to not hand your license over to a police officer when asked to do so.

    Police are not allowed to use traffic stops as an excuse to bypass the 4th and 5th amendments when investigating offenses not directly related to the operation of the vehicle, but they can enforce highway traffic laws virtually to their heart’s content without having to worry about those amendments, because driving on a public road is a privilege rather than a right. For example, police can “search and seize” a vehicle to confirm that it is road-worthy, with little-to-no need to demonstrate probable cause.

    The best argument that I personally see against the NTSB’s proposal is that it would prevent an owner from using their car even when they don’t plan on driving on a public road.  After all, one is not required to have a driver’s license or to comply with other highway traffic laws if one operates the vehicle exclusively on private property.

    I do not believe it would be constitutional for governments to assume that a vehicle is to be used on public roads unless the owner proves otherwise, as that would mean presuming guilt.

    Of course, I’m not a lawyer…

    • #19
  20. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    No. Just no.

    • #20
  21. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    This will result in the complete collapse of the automobile industry, and an explosion in the used car auto repair markets.

    And move up a lot of peoples’ plans to buy a new car. My old 2008 car is still excellent, but due to the ban in my state on gas cars starting in 2035, and now this, I will be buying my new car within the next year, if not sooner.

    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    I think the way they get around the legal issues that you and others have raised is to state that driving is not a right but a privilege.  

     

     

     

     

     

    !

     

    • #21
  22. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    DaveSchmidt (View Comment):

    Mayor Pete must be giggling with delight.

    Emphasis on giggling…

    • #22
  23. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    Governor Walz has been pushing for Minnesota to sign up for the California auto emissions standards, which would mean that whatever California does, Minnesota would replicate.  As I’ve already told you, Jean, you could move to Tennessee.  We could be neighbors.

    • #23
  24. Painter Jean Moderator
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    Governor Walz has been pushing for Minnesota to sign up for the California auto emissions standards, which would mean that whatever California does, Minnesota would replicate. As I’ve already told you, Jean, you could move to Tennessee. We could be neighbors.

    Now I would like that very much!

    • #24
  25. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    Governor Walz has been pushing for Minnesota to sign up for the California auto emissions standards, which would mean that whatever California does, Minnesota would replicate. As I’ve already told you, Jean, you could move to Tennessee. We could be neighbors.

    Now I would like that very much!

    In exchange, California could replicate Minnesota’s mosquito population. 

    • #25
  26. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    Governor Walz has been pushing for Minnesota to sign up for the California auto emissions standards, which would mean that whatever California does, Minnesota would replicate. As I’ve already told you, Jean, you could move to Tennessee. We could be neighbors.

    I have been baffled by this interest among state politicians to deprive their voters the power of their votes. 

    Virginia did this in 2021 by legislating that Virginia would dutifully let California decide Virginia car rules. Gov. Youngkin is apparently trying to reverse that to allow Virginians to decide the rules that apply to Virginia. But I do hear that politicians in several other states are advocating to deprive their own residents and citizens of the power to decide the rules of vehicles for that state, and instead let California bureaucrats do the deciding for them. 

    Many states have adopted the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” to deprive their residents of power in electing the president of the United States. 

    What is with politicians’ interest in giving away not only the power of their voters, but their own power as well?

    • #26
  27. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    Many states have adopted the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” to deprive their residents of power in electing the president of the United States. 

    This is the insane “we don’t care how our unwashed, uneducated citizens vote, we’re giving our electoral votes to whoever California picks” attitude.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    If Minnesota passes a ban on gas-powered cars similar to California’s, I’m leaving! I suggest ye do likewise, Rushbabe.

    Governor Walz has been pushing for Minnesota to sign up for the California auto emissions standards, which would mean that whatever California does, Minnesota would replicate. As I’ve already told you, Jean, you could move to Tennessee. We could be neighbors.

    I have been baffled by this interest among state politicians to deprive their voters the power of their votes.

    Virginia did this in 2021 by legislating that Virginia would dutifully let California decide Virginia car rules. Gov. Youngkin is apparently trying to reverse that to allow Virginians to decide the rules that apply to Virginia. But I do hear that politicians in several other states are advocating to deprive their own residents and citizens of the power to decide the rules of vehicles for that state, and instead let California bureaucrats do the deciding for them.

    Many states have adopted the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” to deprive their residents of power in electing the president of the United States.

    What is with politicians’ interest in giving away not only the power of their voters, but their own power as well?

    Why should they care about their own voters? Most of their income is routed through the national government these days, so they need to pay more attention to the needs of the national government party.  

    • #28
  29. randallg Member
    randallg
    @randallg

    Wouldn’t be long before third parties would offer the service of disabling it. Kind of like unlocking a cell phone.

    • #29
  30. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    randallg (View Comment):

    Wouldn’t be long before third parties would offer the service of disabling it. Kind of like unlocking a cell phone.

    I am assuming that should I end up getting one of those cars I would be able to find someone to disable it or bypass it because even though I don’t drink much, as others have noted it becomes a potential point of failure.

    I had one car on which the brake pedal to ignition interlock failed and another on which the transmission shifter position sensor to ignition interlock failed, both times preventing me from starting the car.

    I had yet another that had a mechanical switch under the dash that locked the transmission shift lever in “park,” and one time that switch failed so as to prevent me from shifting out of “park.” But I can’t blame that on the car manufacturer. The switch had been installed by the police agency that previously owned the car to reduce the chance of a rear seat “passenger” awaiting transport from prematurely getting the car moving without the driving officer present. Made a fun anti-theft feature though until the switch failed and I had it bypassed.

    • #30
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