Home | Index & Archives | Contributing Writers | Power Elite Playbook | Writers Wanted | Awards | News Tips | Subscriptions | Muckraker Report T-Shirts | News Sources / Links | Contacts | Legal Disclaimer | Search
Partial Victory for Driving Rights in Ohio

Ed Haas

Partial Victory for Driving Rights in Ohio


January 22, 2008 – Why did America ever allow the government to take away the right to drive and convert that right into a privilege?  Why did we ever accept the states’ demand that we enter into a contract with it, so that we could exercise our right to locomotion?  As with so many other lost liberties in the United States, fear, factual or fancied, proved to be the peoples’ downfall.  It is sad to report that we live in a nation whose majority has long been a fearful, lazy lot addicted to comfortable compliance with governmental intrusion and oppression. 


These Americans willingly accept the states’ demand.  They enjoy surrendering their freedom in exchange for a false sense of security, and are quick to scoff at any suggestion that their willful compliance with the state is deranged and unbecoming of an American.  They maintain that a drivers’ license issued by the state keeps our public roadways safe and are therefore in the public interest and for the common good.  Brainwashed with fears of non-compliance while consumed with an apathy that prevents them from fighting for their rights, the dumbfounded majority run away from the fact that driving is a right, not a privilege. 

And so the government takes more, and more, and more.  It suspends and revokes drivers’ licenses for non-compliance of a widening set of administrative statutes.  Beyond not following the traffic rules, licenses are being suspended or revoked for failure to purchase and maintain a commercial product - insurance, failure to pay parking tickets, failure to pay child support, stealing gas, most any drug law violation; the list goes on and on. 


Now the federal government wants in on the action too.  They call it REAL ID.  They say it is needed to keep America safe.  Wait and see how long it takes to revoke your REAL ID compliant drivers’ license for failure to file a tax form or respond to a U.S. Census Bureau questionnaire, or join the military draft.  America, you must wake up! 


It is time to abolish drivers’ licenses completely.  We the people do not need them!  All they do is allow the government to sanction us to death.  And what happens when the state suspends or revokes a drivers’ license?  According to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, 75 percent of suspended and revoked drivers continue to drive.  Why?  That’s simple.  People that have their licenses suspended continue to drive because driving is far beyond a mere privilege. Driving is a common Right and a clear necessity.  The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


There are approximately 210 million licensed drivers in the United States.  At any given time, 10 to 15 percent of all licenses are under suspension.  That means that 21 million to 31 million Americas have been denied their driving right by the state.  With 75 percent of revoked and suspended drivers continuing to drive, the state has created 23.3 million people it hopes to further criminalize and tax.  It is well past time to break the shackles that bind us to the state. 


Nobody needs a drivers’ license to start his or her vehicle.  We only need the keys.  Responding to this fact, some states now confiscate vehicles from repeat offenders!  Why do we tolerate this people?  Enough is enough!  End these laws now in your statehouse. 


And then there are the financial responsibility laws.  What a crime.  The insurance lobby loves them of course.  Anytime you can get a law passed that requires 210 million people to purchase your product, it’s called a jackpot!  But only a jackass could think this is for the common good.  It’s about greed, oppression, and suppression of objectors.  When it comes to traveling on our highways, we need to change how people sue one another.  We need to insure ourselves, and our property only.  It should no longer matter whether another driver has insurance or not because the other drivers insurance would no longer pay for damages to somebody else’s’ vehicle – only his or her vehicle. 


And this insurance should be optional – unless you have a bank loan.  What shouldn’t be optional though is removing the state government from the equation.  Insurance companies already sell “under insured” products which covers the policyholder and not somebody else.  We need to insure ourselves and our vehicles against the damage caused by others, and outlaw liability coverage.  No doubt, lawyers and insurers might not like this outcome.  Well, too bad.  Most Americans driving without insurance are doing so because they cannot afford the insurance – yet they need to drive to get work, pay bills, run errands, purchase food, you know – survive.  It’s time to stand up and end the criminalization of the less fortunate by developing laws that allow the more fortunate to insure their property without forcing the mandate onto others. 


Case in point: Jeffery Brown from Columbus, Ohio. 


The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles suspended Brown’s driving right for ninety days, from January 20, 2004 to April 19, 2004.  Thanks to the insurance lobbying efforts, because Brown could not afford insurance in 2004, the legislators of Ohio saw fit to pass law that allows insurance companies to charge even higher rates for victims that couldn’t afford the lower rates. 


Additionally, because his driver’s license was suspended for failure to provide proof of insurance coverage, Brown was also required to file and maintain with the Bureau continuous proof of insurance coverage for five years, until January 20, 2009.  The good people of Ohio should be outraged! 


On July 5, 2007, Brown received notice of suspension for failure to file and maintain with the Bureau continuous proof of insurance coverage.  As mentioned above, the laws need to change so that whether Brown has insurance or not is nobody’s business, especially the State of Ohio’s, except Brown’s. 


Brown fought back.  He contacted the Muckraker Report and inquired about the content in the article, Driving is a Right, Not a Privilege.  Over the years we have received many inquires about this article.  As we did with Brown, we advise everyone to speak with an attorney because the article contains legal information and not legal advice.  After the fact, Brown indicated that he could not afford an attorney, which is why he filed his own Brief of Defendant. 


Among other arguments, Brown asserted that he had his driver license and registrations revoked for failing to purchase a commercial product.  He argued that he was being penalized for being poor, and that his constitutional right to travel had been taken from him and the penalties were intended to drive him deeper into poverty.  He concluded by indicating that the action of the state served no legitimate purpose of government. 

Brown was correct on all accounts.  It is worth noted that state governments have argued that revoking driving rights does not interfere with a person’s right to travel – only the right to operate a motor vehicle – which they call a privilege.  However, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, "Personal liberty -- consists of the power of locomotion, of changing situations, of removing one's person to whatever place one's inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due process of law." 1 Blackstone's Commentary 134; Hare, Constitution__. 777; Bevier’s Law Dictionary, 1914 ed., Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed.

Rights cannot be converted into privileges – thus eliminated the states’ claim to due process of law, and administrative revocation of a right, or purely ministerial acts inflicted upon the people by the state grossly lack any resemblance with due process in its original intent.  The fact that the corrupt courts line up for the government against the people doesn’t mean that it is right – it only indicates who holds the keys to power.  It's time for the people to take that power back in a fierce and furious fashion. 

Assistant Attorney General James R. Foley filed an Appellee’s Brief in response to Brown’s brief.  In it, Foley pulled the typical legal gymnastics expected from any other fool that enjoys needlessly interfering with the lives of his fellow countrymen.  Foley talked all the administrative talk – lack of jurisdiction, whether Brown had a right to appeal, whether a common pleas court is required to wait for a party to an administrative appeal to file its merit brief - blah, fu@k’n blah, blah.


What Foley essentially ignored though was Brown’s claim that driving was a right, which would make the entire case against him a mute point.  Rights cannot be revoked.  Only privileges. 


Brown wrote:

"The right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, in the ordinary course of life and business, is a common right which he has under the right to enjoy life and liberty, to acquire and possess property, and to pursue happiness and safety. It includes the right, in so doing, to use the ordinary and usual conveyances of the day, and under the existing modes of travel, includes the right to drive a horse drawn carriage or wagon thereon or to operate an automobile thereon, for the usual and ordinary purpose of life and business." Teche Lines vs. Danforth, Miss., 12 S.2d 784; Thompson vs. Smith, supra.

Foley responded by arguing that none of the cases cited by Brown were issued by this Court, or by any court superior to this Court.  What Ohio did next was to ensure that there would not be any Ohio ruling for future reference either!

On November 8, 2007 the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles respectfully moved the court to dismiss the instant appeal, as the suspension being appealed at the time by Jeffery Brown was no longer in effect, rendering the appeal moot. 

That’s right!  The state, bless their little safety nanny, busybody hearts, reinstated Jeffrey Brown’s driving right.  The Attorney General had Brown’s license reinstated instead of risking going to trial.  God forbid if the courts had to practice law and consider the fact that driving is far more than a mere privilege in today’s society. 

Brown had to pay no reinstatement fees – including his plates and registration.  He doesn’t have to deal with draconian SR-22 requirements.  He is no longer a special risk according to the state. 

Magically, Jeffery Brown is now a safe driver again. 

What does a drivers’ license really prove?  It proves that for approximately 1 hour during your entire life, you demonstrated to a government nipple-sucking employee at the DMV that you could meet minimum requirements and operate a motor vehicle safely.  It didn’t demonstrate that you would operate a vehicle safely – just that you could. 

True story - when I was sixteen, I failed my first driving test.  I was stone cold sober when I took it.  For the second test, I was stoned out of my mind.  This was back in the marijuana smoking days.  My cousin Dee Dee and I smoked a couple of joints on the way to the state police barracks.  The state trooper told me a did an outstanding job parallel parking.  I passed the second driving test with flying colors! 

And you want to trust the government to ensure that only so-called safe drivers are on the road while continuing to give it the right to revoke your right to drive…

Government wants to grow bigger by creating more criminals to police so that it can justify its very existence.  Are you next on the list of its victims?  Start a grassroots campaign in you community. Grow it to the county level, then to every county in your state.  Call it the (State Name) Driving Rights Action Committee.  Work tirelessly to abolish all driver-licensing requirements in your state.  Kick ass and take names. 

Let Freedom of the Road be your battle cry.  God knows we’ve paid for it! 

If you enjoyed this article, please consider donating to the MUCKRAKER REPORT.
Your donations keep the Muckraker Report subscription free!

To comment or request reprint permission, please contact Ed Haas via e-mail.

 Subscribe to Muckraker Report RSS Feed

Copyright 2002-2008 by MUCKRAKER REPORT.
All rights reserved.
For re-print permission, contact Ed Haas: (843) 817-9962.