Expansion of anti-motorist laws criminalize you for daily living
By Terri Hall
June 14, 2016
In America, we’re way past the tipping point of being able to go about your daily life without breaking some little known, arcane law passed in the dark of night. Libertarian think tanks could bury us with the data that demonstrates the many ways government has criminalized ordinary, law abiding citizens for simply living their lives. But one of the latest and most comprehensive assaults by big government is criminalizing motorists for just about every action taken while driving your car.
Last week, the Newspaper.com exposed how many states have passed and/or greatly expanded ‘move over’ laws that require motorists to change lanes or dramatically decrease their speed when certain vehicles are on the shoulder. It ranges from emergency vehicles to cable tv trucks. The question becomes, how can a motorist tell what kind of car or truck is on the side of the road in time to actually comply? Flashing lights help, but not all classifications of vehicles that fall under move over laws have flashing lights.
When you analyze the enforcement tactics for such laws (like blitzes over holiday weekends or ticket traps), it becomes obvious that the motivation for passing them is simply writing tickets. The facts show it’s rare for police to be killed by passing vehicles, and when they are, it’s usually due to road conditions or situations that move over laws could not prevent.
But it doesn’t stop there. With the massive network of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes that often double as bus lanes and toll lanes for Single Occupancy Vehicles (SOV) across American highways, motorists face a constant barrage of rules and regulations about who can access these restricted lanes based on time of day, how many people are in your vehicle, and what price you’ll have to pay for the privilege. So most steer clear of such lanes due to the confusing signage and fear of paying steep fines and fees if they get it wrong.
Don’t forget the social engineering take over of our city streets as well. Bureaucrats impose ‘traffic calming’ measures that impede cars, and even close streets in order to elevate pedestrians and cyclists over autos. They bulldoze lanes and removing parking to put in wider sidewalks to better accommodate pedestrians. The social engineers also convert unrestricted auto lanes to bus-only lanes, booting cars in favor of buses.
But such anti-car tactics have created more congestion and deterred people from traveling into downtown areas. Such policies fail to grasp most people drive their vehicles to their destination and then move on foot. So by making downtown areas car averse, they also proportionately decrease foot traffic. Anti-car gimmicks also failed to appreciably increase transit ridership. Indeed, transit ridership has been stubbornly in decline for the past 40 years, despite the social engineers’ best efforts to give it every advantage. If you get caught violating these arbitrary anti-car restrictions, even accidentally due to the confusing signage or bend in the road, you’re on the hook for a pricey mistake, courtesy of the whims of bureaucrats you didn’t elect.
Then there’s the morass of cell phone and text bans enacted either by local ordinance or state law that confuse drivers to the point of never touching their cell phones for fear of getting a $500 ticket. Yet Smart phones have become one of the most useful tools for a motorist. Whether its navigation apps, weather warnings, alerts about road closures and alternate routes, or a host of other pertinent information, cell phone companies catered to the motorist and made us dependent on our phones for vital information while at the same time big government reaches its heavy hand into our vehicles to penalize us for using them. Not all essential functions can be done hands-free, so no matter how you slice it, such bans curtail your liberty and give government another means to criminalize you for going about your life.
Thank you big government. America is officially a nanny state, and most motorists don’t have a prayer of complying.