Motor Vehicle Laws Platform Position Adopted

By unanimous vote of its Executive Committee, at meeting duly assembled in Terra Alta, Preston County, September 11, 2011, the Constitution Party of West Virginia has adopted the following state platform position:

Motor Vehicle Laws

Free people have a common law right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose.  This natural right is an unrestricted one as long as there is no damage or violation of the property or rights of others.  The 1215 Magna Carta, the basis of all of our American founding documents, enshrined this right to travel in Articles 41 and 42 which respectively state, All merchants may enter or leave England unharmed and without fear, and may stay or travel within it, by land or water, for purposes of trade, free from all illegal exactions,” and “It shall be lawful to any person, for the future, to go out of our kingdom, and to return, safely and securely, by land or by water.” Additionally, in Shapiro v Thompson, 394 U.S. 618 (1969), Justice Potter Stewart noted in a concurring opinion that the right to travel “is a right broadly assertable against private interference as well as governmental action. Like the right of association…it is a virtually unconditional personal right…” The Articles of Confederation had an explicit right to travel, and we hold that the right to travel is so fundamental that the Framers thought it was unnecessary to include it in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  “The right to travel is a well-established common right that does not owe its existence to the federal government. It is recognized by the courts as a natural right,” declares Schactman v Dulles 96 App DC 287, 225 F2d 938, at 941.

Therefore, licensing of travelers cannot be required of free people because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.  This is confirmed in the Federal court decision Murdock vs. Pennsylvania 319 US 105 (1942) which said, “A state cannot impose a license, tax or fee on a constitutionally protected right.” As such we support legislation such as the Georgia Right to Travel Act, House Bill 875 (November 2009) and advocate replacing the state-issued license for travelers with a simple and privately issued (through DMV accredited training schools) Operator Competency Certificate.  Note that this OCC would not be a form of identification and would only be for the sole purpose of promoting the safe operation of motorized conveyances on public roads.  As exhibited at the Washington, DC Museum of American History’s “Transportation in America” display, wallet-sized operator’s certificates worked just fine for us for many years until they were surreptitiously converted into licenses in the 1950s.  They contain no photographic images or biometric identifiers and are not part of or accessible by any criminal database or national ID system.  Other forms of State ID such as passport cards are currently available and should remain completely voluntary.

As with the overtly Draconian “Obamacare” health insurance scheme which has been ruled unconstitutional and struck down by a number of courts (U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, Federal District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson of Virginia, and the U.S. Appeals Court for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta to name just a few), compulsory motor vehicle insurance is also coercion to contract and equally unconstitutional.  Likewise, annual safety inspections effectively result in collusion with repair facilities which benefit from the added customers.  Whereas insurance agencies and auto shops are both for-profit businesses and there is no place in a truly free society for governments to be in bed with corporations, we call for a repeal of these fascist statutes and instead advocate a return to individual responsibility.  Nobody wants to intentionally risk their own lives or the lives of others on the public roads and government regulations and legislation are not guarantees of safety.  Thus, travelers should only be required to sign a simple legally binding annual agreement of financial responsibility, competency, and medical and equipment fitness.

The automobile is perhaps the ultimate example of the Declaration’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Having a deep-rooted appreciation of our inventive and industrious heritage, we are passionate and nostalgic for them.  Thus it is that our conveyances proudly belong to us and are our personal property.  We seek an end to the hijacking of automobile ownership through DMV bureaucracy which covertly exchanges Manufacturer Statements of Origin (the iconic “pink slip”) for state-issued Certificates of Title and the now “privilege” of “driving.”  Additionally, we favor using “number tags,” not “license plates” which generally stay with the conveyance for its life as is done in Europe.  Whereas having to show tax paperwork to register a vehicle is akin to requiring a constitutionally prohibited poll tax to vote, we advocate the abolition of all feudal “property tax” rent payments. And, we declare that our constitutionally protected rights to privacy and against self-incrimination are held inviolate in our personal space inside of our modes of transportation.  This is true whether it be with regard to unwarranted searches of our possessions or our personal decisions on the use of seat-belts, air bags, helmets, cell phones, daytime running lights or event data recorders.

The purpose of law enforcement is to protect and serve, not to act as revenue agents.  Likewise, the only legitimate roles of the DMV are to keep track of rolling stock ownership, their associated number plates, registration tags, and operator training accreditation.  Other than local bonds, all costs to provide and maintain the public roads should be borne by the annual plate tax which should be based solely on the manufacturer’s stated gross vehicle weight and not the perceived value of one’s conveyance.  Since we propose eliminating its records of personal information and insurance bureau, the DMV will be greatly streamlined further reducing costs.  Furthermore, we call for an end to prosecutions for victimless crimes where there are no injured parties.  Operators of motorized conveyances are not criminals.  Law enforcement can deal with motoring infractions in a civil and polite manner by brief detainments for safety talks and the point system.  Highway speed limits should be based on average traffic pattern values rather than arbitrary numbers.

Roadblocks are properly used only to promote the public safety, particularly in emergency situations, and for manhunts and other legitimate procedures.  We concur with both the Michigan Supreme Court and Justice Clarence Thomas (re: Sitz vs. Michigan) that slyly renaming them “sobriety checkpoints” opens the door to all manner of potential police harassment and intimidation and is blatantly unconstitutional on plain to see 4th and 5th Amendment grounds.  Across the country, DUI roadblocks are being turned into multi-million dollar enterprises where they are used as an excuse to confiscate vehicles, assess crippling fines, and arrest motorists for a host of non-alcohol related violations.  Likewise, we are opposed to unverifiable speed and red light cameras as well as anti-liberty stop and ID laws.  We seek an end to street assaults against the sovereign people for failing to exhibit a State-issued confession of subject-class citizenship.

“The use of the highway for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common fundamental right of which the public and individuals cannot rightfully be deprived,” concludes Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 169 NE 221.  Thus, and especially where rights secured by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of West Virginia are involved, the legislature has no power to abrogate the citizens’ right to travel by passing statutes forcing him to waive and convert that right into a privilege.  “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime,” ruled Miller v U.S. 230F 486 at 489.  There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon an individual because of this exercise of constitutionally protected rights.  We seek a common sense and unobtrusive yet responsible approach to motorist safety.

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