After years of digging in their heels on any form of automotive regulation, senior Democrats in Congress have indicated a willingness to work with Republicans on limiting access to certain types of transmissions, specifically the “Dual Clutch Transmission,” or “DCT.”
The DCT has been marketed under various names over the past two decades, including DSG, SMG, and PDK, but the fundamental premise is the same: Allowing drivers to shift faster and more efficiently than they could do using other transmissions.
Developers of the DCT insist the device was originally intended only for professional racing drivers, including Formula 1 and World Rally Championship. But the governing body of both leagues, known as the FIA, admits that it failed to restrict the technology from filtering into everyday consumer vehicles.
“We had no idea consumers would accept the additional complexity, weight, and cost of these transmissions,” says FIA spokesman Michele Letorneau. “FIA-sanctioned races have been the leader in automotive safety and technology advancement for many years. We simply regret that DCTs have made their way into the hands of irresponsible drivers.”
The DCT remained relatively unknown to the general public until this Monday, when attendees of the “H2Oi” gathering in Ocean City, Maryland, began hearing unusually quick shifts during impromptu street races. Local police were unable to catch the offenders in their patrol cars and had to resort to helicopters and motorcycles to keep up.
One teen driver of a late-model Porsche Cayman sports car was quoted as saying he didn’t even know what PDK meant except “That [expletive] is Pretty Damn Kwik.”
Ocean City Police Chief Clancy Wiggum says “Our biggest concern right now is that drivers are using DCTs on the street without proper training. They drive these cars in their video games and think you can just come out here, push some buttons on your car, and everything will be fine. But in real life, Damage Effects are set to “High” and there are no Continues.”
Pro-car advocacy group AAA has been unusually silent on the news. Many observers think the AAA has been keeping quiet since nearly losing a fight to outlaw Launch Control from passenger cars in late 2016. “Even if you outlaw Launch Control, people can still do Brake Stands. People are going to win their drag races any way they can,” AAA President Wayne Lagrande was quoted as saying in court documents.
It remains to be seen whether bipartisan action will materialize, but renowned car enthusiast and former Vice President Joe Biden has reportedly been helping mediate between the two main parties.
“If I can’t get Congress to reach across the aisle on this one, then I’m going to try for a full reacharound,” Biden said Tuesday.