March 20, 1996's Question
From: Matthew T. Russotto <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 16:07:32 -0500 (EST) It is far too dangerous to allow the government to treat essential activities as privileges, revocable at the whim of government. It allows the government to take away even our enumerated rights, through the simple expedient of making a waiver of those rights a condition of getting the license to do the essential activity. We already see this with so-called implied consent laws which waive the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure in drunk driving cases. A related danger is the government using the licenses to impose extrajudicial (administrative) punishments on people who behave in a way contrary to the government's wishes. We see this in West Virginia where high school dropouts have their driver's licenses taken away. Other states take away the licenses of minors in possession of alcohol (even when they are not using an automobile at the time),and it has at least been proposed that the licenses of drug users be taken away. Governments also revoke licenses of those who are accused of failing to pay child support or alimony, even when they may be attempted to remedy the situation through proper channels. Any activity essential to leading a normal life must be considered a right, and not a privilege. Any less short-circuits constitutional guarantees and leaves us at the mercy of government bureaucrats. Driving is such an essential activity: though some people in some situations can get along without driving, for most of us doing without it would be a great hardship. We would have to give up our job, our home, or both, and move to a city. We'd be unable to go on many business trips where we'd have to drive at the destination-- reducing our employability. While getting from city to city would still be possible, getting to suburban areas would become impractical, expensive, or both. For those living in rural areas (such as West Virginia), getting along without driving is basically impossible -- it would be like getting along without a horse before the invention of the automobile. From: "James M. Mullins, Jr."
Date: Sat, 15 Jun 1996 20:23:02 -0400 (EDT)After looking at this issue really hard, I have to concude that driving is a right. The main factor was that some states are now starting to revoke driver's licenses for things totally unrelated to driving. They then claim it is a privilege and that in order to keep it, you must obey ALL laws, not just driving ones. Examples: 1) West Virginia revokes driver's licenses from high school dropouts (I disagree with both that practice and dropping out of school) 2) Some states are now starting to revoke driver's licenses from those behind on child support (they should find another way to make deadbeat parents pay up) 3) Some states have considered (and some may have even enacted) laws to revoke driver's licenses of high school students who make poor grades 4) Some states revoke driver's licenses for breaking non-traffic laws. However, I do believe they should be reoked while people are doing jail/prison time, so they won't be able to legally drive if they've escaped (although they would be nabbed very quickly if they were caught and a check was done on the license). 5) Certain areas hold driver's licenses over people's heads for various other reasonas as well. Those who think it should be a privilege fail to understand many things. It really became set in that driving was a right during the 1950's. That's when cities became broke down into separate areas that could only easily be traveled to by car. I mean, you'd have all the single-family home in one area, apartments and condos in another, retail stores in another, recreation in another, and other businesses in another (e.g. banks, corporate HQ's, hospitals, etc.) I also believe that states that have laws that in any way permit parents to flex control over whether or not their children may drive should repeal them. I know that in states where parents have "veto" power on the driver's license they hold it over their children's heads. Whether or not you can drive deeply affects your social life. I mean, how many teenager would honestly want theirt parents near them when they were with their friends (or boyfriends or girlfriends). None. You get to do different things whenever you have this freedom. I always thought that getting a driver's license only depended on competency to drive, not something your parents thought. But I know thai, if anything, parents would only be given more control over this because children can't vote and would not be angry by the time they started voting. Now, driving, like any other right, also has its responsibilities. This includes being a safe and courteous driver. This includes not driving when drunk, high, or just barely able to keep your eyes open, although it is no crime (at least in my state) to drive when very fatigued. However, we should discourage it. I would also oppose laws on fatigued driving because there is no reliable way to set a limit on what is too much to be driving. We also have to kep our cars in good working order and safe (I believe most drivers also own their own car). Let's just take another right as an example. Voting. You can't vote if you're mentally incompetent. You can't vote if you're in prison for a serious crime. You can't vote in your area if you haven't met residency requirements. From: Jim <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 13:24:11 -0500 (EST) I consider people to have the right to travel, but driving must be regulated. With cars I'm sure you all know people who drive, but are safety hazards. This would be worse if there was no regulation. Also, if someone committed a crime or there was a hit and run how could you identify who did it. Sometimes crooks steal cars and they are spotted and retrieved. The government may be a bit more intrusive than it should, but we need some sort of vehicle registration and licensing. From: Bradley Nave <Bradley_Nave@baylor.edu> Date: Fri, 22 Mar 1996 15:05:45 -0500 (EST) Driving, while a one of the most basic forms of freedom, is not a right in the sense that every American has the right to drive, no matter what. People should have to pass strict tests and show competancy before being alowed to drive. As a political science major, I don't see how making driving a privilege will give government the power to arbitrarily take licenses away. Due process of law is not limited to rights, but to any government action that directly harms someone. There are too many people driving without enough training and skill and they are the ones who cause accidents. I have no problems with requiring driver's ed for ALL PEOPLE before they can recieve a license. I know that it is an expensive class, but it is well worth it. The most important thing to remember is that we have to be on the road with other drivers and I would feel better knowing that they might actually know what they are doing. From: Donovan Colbert <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 17:10:01 -0500 (EST) I think that looking at it by the legal definition of "Rights" versus privlidges is the problem here. It is not an issue of judicial law to me, but of moral law. And morally, driving is a privlidge, not a right. It is expensive to own a car. Maintinance of a car is a tremendous expense. One must work to afford a vehicle, work to afford the gasoline, work to afford the maintainance of the vehicle. In my perception, everything is a privlidge granted to by ones own efforts. People throw around the word "rights" without any concept of the word "responsibilities". Therefore, it is not your *right* to drive, it is a privlidge that each individual must earn. Not from our goverment, but from their own efforts. If you can't afford to pay child support, you are not meeting your *responsibilities*, therefor how can you *possibly* afford to drive? If you are a minor and you live with your parents, you are not Making your own way, you are being subsidized by your parents. If not for your parents, how could you afford to drive? Therefor, your parents have a controlling intrest in your ability to drive. In trade for no or incredibly little rent and food payments, they get a controlling intrest in your life. If you don't like it, once you are 18, move out and make it on your own. But, you'll probably end up on a 10-speed, because you can't AFFORD to drive. I can see that it is a "right" should you meet your obligations in deserving that right. Being self-sufficient, meeting all your other responsibilities. But if you can't meet your basic responsibilities for *living*, then you certainly have no RIGHT to drive. From: Shane Date: Thu, 2 May 1996 12:45:17 -0400 (EDT) I can understand the "privledge" cluase going back in time to when an auto moble was something that only the rich would drive around in. In those days, any job, family or problems were usually only a few miles away, and we always had the option of taking a bike, of course that's if you had one.. As for today (1990s) All that I have mentioned above is anything but the same in today's society. I'm in construction, my job or jobs require that I travel all over NY and even out of state... I can't see that as being a privledge, for traveling long hours just so I can eat at the end of the week is a fact of life for millions of people. You ask anyone who travels, does the traveling to work make them feel at ease knowing that it's only a privledge that can be taken away at any time..I'm sure their answers won't be surpricing... No matter what the supreme ct. says, and we all know they are wrong sometimes as well. The fact remains that the roads in our time are a right for the people made by the people to make life better for the people and bring people closer together... As for the speed limit. If there was none the state would go broke. They keep the speed limit low for many reasons. Well of course to keep people safer (RIGHT!) If they were to keep people safer then the limit sould be 15 miles ph on the roads. That way no one would get hert.. What I'd like to know is that how did they come up with a 55mph limit. I'm sure there answer is as good as their "privledge" clause... IT IS A "PRIVLEDGE" which in my opionon is very untrue.. IT SHOULD BE A "R I G H T".......... Thanks for taking the time to read this... Shane. From: Robert Cuda <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Wed, 3 Apr 1996 04:01:39 -0500 (EST) It is a right until it results in the slaughter of countless numbers of innocents. the "government" is supposed to be nothing more than the will of the people personified into an acting body. While it does seem obvious that it has, to some extent, gone beyond this role; and has turned partly into a tyrranical power, it still is only the will of the people. Using the terminology "right" and "privilege" is misleading. The term "privilege connotes a gift handed down from a great power. I have the right to kill hundreds of people...and you and the rest of the public have the right to stop me. (I tend to use hyperbole, so don't think that I'm a nut...ok?) It is the case of competing "rights" that are inherent in being a creature that possesses free-will. Dichotomizing it into "rights" and "privileges" implies that certain things are under the power of the government, which is simply not true. the daily news shows very clearly that scores of individuals do things that they have no "right" to do, such as that nut in Dunblane. Tell me, did he exercise his right or his privilege in his barbaric act? He exercised his freewill, and noone could stop him. Anyway, I've gottne way too deep into philosophy for a silly little question about traffic...sorry. From: Ron Miller <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 29 Apr 1996 16:07:47 -0400 (EDT) Perhaps more of the public would get some idea of what the NRA is about if driving were regulated like guns are. "Driving is a right." This should mean that all citizens are allowed a moped and 2 gallons of gas per month. This miserly allocation of your rights means that you can't complain about the rest. "only those who can demonstrate a compelling need" should be allowed to have any vehicle with 4 wheels. After all, most bank robberies are committed by people who drive to and from them. And all driveby shootings would end if there were no driving. "Only the police and military" should have performance vehicles. Because only your tax money can support such extravagance. Seriously, I would like to see some minimal level of acknowlegement that driving is a right. But I would also like to see some form of incentive to get training, to maintain safe vehicles, and to keep an excellent record. An Expert Driver License or somesuch would be a positive incentive to improvement. I greatly resent regulatorily imposed requirements to improvement. I have taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Experienced Rider Course 4 times for fun. It would be good if there were rewards for being professional, courteous, and safety-minded. From: Sean Aron <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 14:15:06 -0400 (EDT) A car has the potential to be both an incredible aid in productivity and a lethal weapon, and they should be treated as such. More stringent testing (that actually takes place on the open road) and improved drivers' education both would help Americans lower accident and death rates. The knowledge that people can drive properly would also allow for more liberal laws, such as the elimination or increase of speed limits. The most basic function of government is to protect the stupid and the defenseless, to ensure the maximum amount of freedom for everyone else. Government then must teach those who want to drive how to do so safely, within their limits, and to keep out of the way of others. To increase the freedom for the majority of us, we need to stop the uneducated from ruining our roads. Education breeds liberty. There is no God- given right to endanger others; to increase our freedoms we need to stop those who put others in danger. Educate, don't regulate. Sean Aron New Orleans, LA From: Anonymous Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 19:46:28 -0400 (EDT) It should be a PRIVELDGE! Because there are alot of selfish, arrogant drivers out there who are spoiled and insensitive to other drivers - these individuals should be regulated, controlled and disciplined. If they are given the RIGHT, they will abuse that right boldly and not care about the other driver's life involved. In Germany, I've heard it costs a minimum of $5,000 PLUS stringent training and driving tests BEFORE one receives their license. In other countries like this, driving is treated like FLYING AN AIRPLANE. I know, I know, there is the fear of BIG BROTHER out there who will take away our rights, but you know what? Just as a parent should ground a mis-behavin' child, the Government should represent the safety and awareness of the people - Like a Gigantic Parent! And slap the wrists of those WHO ABUSE THAT PRIVELEGE! Let's not get paranoid over the Government taking this to an extreme and thinking that next they will tell us what kind of bread to put in our toaster, but like the FAA governs the airways, so airplanes won't come crashing into our houses, the DOT should govern the roadways, so motorists won't be out-of-control and abusive. Remember, out of a 1,000 motorists who would respect the RIGHT - 10 could abuse it - hurting everyone!!! From: Bill Williams <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 1 May 1996 19:25:14 -0400 (EDT) Driving is a right ... no matter WHAT the courts have said. In this country, you have the right to travel (unless arreseted). The method of travel is up to you, be it foot, bike, horse, turtle or auto. I see no reason to restrict this choice save two ... money and control. The money concept is simple ... license and regestration fees are a tax. The control arrises in that the issuing body can revoke your "privilege" for whatever reason it sees fit. Here in Texas, they are passing laws yanking the licenses of "dead-beat dads". These people are not a menace on the highway, yet they loose their license anyway. So much for the benevolent goventment not abusing it's power. From: Don Hawryluk <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sat, 13 Apr 1996 22:44:07 -0400 (EDT) The first thing my father said to me when I was I got behind the wheel of the '57 Chevy to learn how to drive was, "this is a lethal weapon." Once you've earned the privilege, through education and training,then it becomes your right and responsibility. From: Nitin Karnani Date: Tue, 9 Apr 1996 23:27:20 -0400 (EDT) Driving is a privelege. Anything that lets you take the lives of so many people in your hand is a privelege and not a right. Driving tests and exams are to easy in the US. I have seen to many people pass driver exams who should not be driving. This goes for males and females. Some people need more experience driving. I am not against driving "fast", but I am against "unsafe" drivers, like those who find it so necessary to smoke and talk on a celluar phone at the same time while driving with some unkown part of their body, those who drive drunk and those who seem to get so nervous at the drop of a leaf. I'm NOT asking for a perfect society, but just a little comon sense on the part of states before they hand out drivers licenses to new drivers and renew licenses by mail without ever requiring to take a road test again. From: Derek Cross <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 30 Apr 1996 18:06:32 -0400 (EDT) DRIVING IS A PRIVILEDGE! If driving is deemed a right, then any twit with enough money can drive without retribution. If driving is a right then it can not be taken away (check your constituion guys). Under no circumstances should anyone be given carte blanche to drive. I know I'm a good driver, you, I've never seen before. You may have learned to drive 60 years ago and never taken a drivers test. You may never have taken performance driving courses. You may be driving on a freeway for the first time since you left the farm in Iowa. With driving considered to be a right how could you stiffen the driving exams and requirements? How could the courts be able to refuse a dangerous driver to get behind the wheel? How could a cronic alcoholic be banned from driving? Maintain that driving is a priviledge for the protection of us all. From: Jeff Fanning <Jeff.Fanning@CellNet.com> Date: Thu, 9 May 1996 19:01:04 -0400 (EDT) Right or Priviledge? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Makes a pretty good argument for driving as a priviledge. Since drivers are supposed to obey the rules, and if they don't then they should not be allowed to drive that suggests that driving is a priviledge. My Opinion: Driving is definitely a priviledge. From: Brandon Sommerville <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 12:24:27 -0500 (EST) Driving should be more heavily restricted. Licensing should be more difficult than checking for a pulse, which is how it seems now. Stricter driver training in accident avoidance, high speed driving and etiquette is essential. You can't drive without travelling, but you can travel without driving. From: Stephen A. McDuffie <email@example.com> Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 21:26:44 -0500 (EST) Stricter testing every 3 years on rules, hand to eye coordination tests, driving record and age should be considered. I am only 19 years old but I love to drive and wish the more careless drivers would get out of my way. I have driving experience and my elders have more than I do and if we can figure a way to give each person a different speed limit for their own skills I believe it would help. From: Rob Sprague <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Fri, 5 Apr 1996 23:56:42 -0500 (EST) America is designed for mass transit.. this being so, Driving is a RIGHT not a privilage !! I feel it a privilege to have my career ,but, not a privilege to drive to do it !,nor grocery getting or any other driveing neccessary task.... thanks rob sprague From: Tom Ingling <email@example.com> Date: Wed, 29 May 1996 22:17:57 -0400 (EDT) Of course it's a right. We're talking about public roads; like anything public, all residents of the U.S. should have equal access to them. That doesn't mean anything about the government's ability to revoke licenses for offenses; we all have a right to freedom, but convicted murderers go to jail, abridging that right. Of course serious traffic offenders should have their license revoked, but as a public resource, I believe it is obvious and undebatable that use of public roads is a right.
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