21 December 2012

Permission to Drive

Many are the complaints of government interference in our personal lives; the regulation of our daily activities. One of the most important activities, a most necessary activity, is driving a car. A citizen of Iowa may not drive a car, motorcycle, truck without permission from the State. I can think of few regulations more onerous than this one. I can not drive to the grocery store, to my job, to any other destination unless I have permission from the State of Iowa to do so. One wonders whether their was a populist uprising over this provision of the law when acted. When Obamacare came into existence, a violent protest ensued over government interference in our health care as if we haven't been living with government interference in our lives since birth. Apparently it is not appropriate for the government to tell you to get health insurance, but it is ok for the government to give you permission to drive a car. This doesn't seem to be logical. There is a certain satisfaction in knowing that a large number of people don't think the government has any business telling them not to drive. These are people I represent, charged with driving without a license, driving while revoked, driving while barred. A citizen of this state may be suspended, revoked, or barred from driving a motor vehicle. It is unknown why we have such a variety of names for the withdrawal of permission to drive except for the fact that our elected representatives believe they have the right and authority to determine who can drive a car and who can't. There are innumerable methods by which the State of Iowa can withdraw a person's right to drive a car; the methods seem to increase in number each time the legislature meets. The two major reasons for losing your driving license are: One, a person is considered to be dangerous behind the wheel, i.e., operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and two, money. If a person owes a fine, court costs, or has a driving related judgment, one will not be allowed to drive unless the sum is paid or a satisfactory payment plan is made. Our lives are organized in such a manner that driving is a necessity. We have had no say in this. Unless one lives in a high density city where all the necessities are within walking distance, driving is required. No such place exists in Iowa. Faced with the choice of not driving and taking care of yourself and your family, driving is the choice. Those who must drive are normally in the lower income range, often receiving government assistance. There is little an attorney can do for someone caught driving without a license; one had a driver's license or one didn't. If caught driving without a license, the person is fined, jailed, and the suspension extended. Now there are more fines to pay and poor paying jobs lost because of incarceration. This is nothing more than a tax on the poorest citizens. We must understand that we use crime for purposes of control. A most important unintended consequence of driving without a license is also driving without insurance. If one does not have a driver's license, one can not obtain insurance. The consequence of this is that a significant percentage of drivers on our highways have no insurance and in the event of an accident, the person with the insurance pays. The person without insurance is normally judgment proof and if the fault of the driver without insurance, our Department of Transportation will see to it that the person without the insurance will never have a driver's license for he will never be able to pay the insurance company of the driver with insurance who was required to foot the bill. None of this makes any sense, of course, but what does? Unless, as it obviously is, the purpose of these laws is to control the citizenry. The courts have rationalized this control by stating explicitly that a driver's license is a privilege not a right. This simple statement is the basis on which the State of Iowa gives its citizens the right to drive a car. If the statement were turned around and the courts would have stated that a driver's license is a right not a privilege, the world would be a different place; and apparently, in the eyes of the legislature, chaos would ensue. This assumption seems to be without merit. There is little likelihood in this land of the free and home of the brave that anarchy would reign if its citizens had a right to drive.