Representative Bryan Slaton of House District 2, in a Dec. 19, 2022 press release, announced the filing of legislation to stop the implementation of remote kill switches in personally owned vehicles.
According to the release, House Bill 1031, if passed, would outlaw the manufacture or sale of vehicles with remote kill-switches that can be activated by the manufacturer or the government, or the installation of such a device in personal vehicles, in the State of Texas.
In the press release, Representative Slaton issued the following statement:
“The idea that the federal government or an international mega-corporation would have the ability to decide when, where and if private citizens can operate their own personal vehicles is not only preposterous, but it is deeply antithetical to the principals of a free country. We all saw the incredible encroachments on individual liberty during COVID. God forbid something like that occurs again, and the government or leftists corporations have the power to remotely shut-down your personal car, and prevent you from traveling. And in an age of cancel-culture, woke-ism, and social-credit scores, this kind of power is just one more step in the direction of an Orwellian future for America.”
The bill, according to Slaton, would help nullify any current or future federal requirements that personal vehicles be equipped with technology that could remotely shut down or disable the vehicle.
“I am grateful for the work that Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom and their Executive Director, Terri Hall, have done on this bill and this issue as a whole. The surveillance-state and their corporate cohorts are bent on making everything that we do trackable and regulated, and we must get ahead of it. The freedom to travel within our own country is incredibly important, and steps must be taken now to ensure it is preserved,” Rep. Slaton concluded.
House Bill 1031 doesn’t apply to an ignition interlock device required for individuals convicted of drunk driving offense. HB 1031 would, however, make it a state jail felony offense to manufacture, distribute (sell) or possess with intent to distribute any application or device with technology capable of being activated by the manufacturer or a governmental entity, including US, state and local government entities (which would include law enforcement officials) or of being installed on a light truck or passenger car in Texas beginning Sept. 1, 2023. Certain occupational licenses would also be revoked for those caught with the devices.
As worded, it seems an app or technology on a personal vehicle could not be accessed by law enforcement or car manufacturer to locate and shut down the vehicle if it was stolen.
According to Slaton’s office, the bill would not effect vehicles that already have this technology included, nor does it have any effect on vehicles sold outside the state or passing through the state.
“We are not prohibiting the ownership of a vehicle with this tech, just the manufacture or sale of such a vehicle in Texas,” according to Andrew J. McVeigh V, Slaton’s Chief of Staff.
When asked if the bill would impact discounts insurance companies might offer for vehicles equipped with anti-theft systems, Slaton’s office said while they can’t “speak to current insurance company policies,” Legislators could be asked “in a committee sub” to consider a “prohibition on insurance companies punishing someone for not having something that is illegal under state law.”