Nothing any good ever came out of Victoria – Old Queensland adage
Victoria seems to be offering stiff competition for other nanny-state regimes with their latest stupidity. Magistrates will now have the power to take away your drivers license for being drunk while walking home after a night at the pub. It is not explained why being on foot has anything to do with driving but hey, with slogans like, ‘if one life can be saved,’ its said, it will all be worthwhile.
Effectively, this means that if you are out at the pub, get a bit pissed, and are a bit worried about how to get home a few blocks away; if you think you can still keep the car on a straight line, you might be better to take the risk on driving rather than leave it in the car park and walk. You will be visible for longer on foot, and there is no difference in the penalty.
The government tells the public that driving is a privilege, not a right and the editorial comes up with the same words:
… The provisions broaden a judicial officer’s ability to suspend, cancel or disqualify an offender’s licence or learner permit for any matter, regardless of whether driving is an element of the offence.
For anyone to lose a licence for public drunkenness would be an extreme use of the new power. Offenders can lose their licences for road rage and magistrates have wide powers to impose conditions on them.
“From today, offenders can lose their driver’s licence for road rage offences or for any other offence where the court considers doing so will better protect the community or send a clear message to the offender,” Mr Clark says. …
… “Where a court considers the best way to pull an offender into line is by taking away their licence, it will have the power to do so.”
A senior North East traffic policeman welcomed The Road Safety and Sentencing Acts Amendment Act 2013. Wangaratta highway patrol Sgt Michael Connors said anything that deterred offending was welcome.
“The possession of a licence is a privilege, not a right, so if these offences are going to be committed where they shouldn’t be driving on our roads, say hoon driving or evading police, then their licence should be suspended or removed,” Sgt Connors said. ...
A drivers licence cannot really be considered a privilege, given that the roads are publicly funded and citizens are entitled to freedom of movement whether sober, pissed, or even meeting with the disapproval of the public at large, provided they are not acting in an aggressive or coercive manner.
Were a road to be privately owned, and that owner restricted the right to drive on it to friends, gay partners, climate change skeptics, or whatever, then driving on it would indeed be a privilege.
A drivers licence is given subject to meeting certain requirements in driving ability, knowledge of the road laws, and an understanding that while traveling, the driver has the ability to do so safely.
It is not an absolute right; otherwise it would arrive in the mail at the predetermined age. It is however, a right to all who can meet the basic qualifications for receiving it, and can conduct themselves in a manner consistent with safe road use.
Any legislation that takes away the right to drive on public roads for reasons unrelated to road safety is an anathema to liberty and has no place in a free society.