What, precisely, is a driver’s license?
It’s certainly not a certificate of demonstrated competence as a driver. That much ought to be obvious given the pervasive incompetence of “drivers” who possess a license but are unable to parallel park or keep their car in its travel lane without “advanced” driver “assistance” technology. It’s a kind of tautology. If a “driver” requires “assistance” to “drive” then by definition, he isn’t.
Vast numbers aren’t.
One encounters them almost as soon as one crosses the threshold of one’s driveway and ventures out among these duly licensed “drivers.” Examples include the two “drivers” I had to deal with yesterday – one right after the other – who were “driving” 38 MPH and 43 MPH, respectively, on a road with a 55 MPH speed limit. Sun shining, pavement dry – perfect visibility. Except for what was in their rearview mirror, an analog-era driver “assistance” technology these “drivers” serially avoid relying upon.
It is considered – legally – “reckless driving” in my state and some others to drive 20 or more MPH faster than whatever the posted speed limit is. But the law is untroubled by “drivers” who “drive” 20 MPH below the posted limit.
Or even no MPH.
I video-recorded one of these “drivers” – inadvertently – while video-monologuing about the just-debuted 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck, whose cost in wasted time is almost as high as its MSRP. But – to paraphrase my man, Eric “Badlands” Booker – enough about that.
As I was explaining the problems with a limited-range electric truck, the range of which will be even further limited if you use its batteries to power your tools (or pull a load) I was forced to come to a stop – about that – and start talking about the “driver” ahead of me who stopped his car on a road with a 55 MPH speed limit because he was unable to deal with passing the bicyclist ahead of him.
Rather than even try, he let the gap between his car and the bicyclist increase to several car lengths before he began to follow at less than 25 MPH. This differently abled “driver” almost certainly had a valid license.
Notwithstanding the incapacity displayed – which was surely not an isolated display. A “driver” who cannot deal with a bicycle rider except by coming to a stop-crawl behind him is a person clearly lacking the capacity to drive.
As also any person who cannot parallel park, curbside, without “assistance.” And what of people who “drive” big trucks but cannot back-up a trailer without the same kind of “assistance”?
The answer is simple.
A driver’s license has nothing to do with driving, per se. Rather, it is a permission slip establishing you have no right to drive, even if you can. Proof of this being that a person can be an excellent driver – one who does not stop in the middle of the road because there is a bicycle rider ahead – and be arrested by an armed government worker if the AGW discovers that the driver does not possess a license, as at one of those probable cause-free “checkpoints” ostensibly posted to catch “drunk” drivers but actually established to catch drivers lacking the requisite permissions and stickers.
Just as it does not matter that you’re not “drunk” – or even driving, as when asleep in the back seat, with the keys not even in the ignition – but can be arrested for it – so also you can be arrested for driving without your driving being in any way objectionable, if you do so without a license.
It’s the permission that’s at issue. More finely, that people accept they are obliged to supplicate and obtain permission – establishing Who’s Boss.
As matter of pure principle, libertarians object to such a thing. People have a natural right to travel on public thoroughfares without having to supplicate and without having that right turned into a conditional privilege – and a kind of ear tag, used to identify them and keep track of them.
Once upon a time, Americans understood this. There was no license needed to travel by horse on the public thoroughfares. (And a horse can be just as or even more “dangerous” than a car, so spare us the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety non sequiturs, please.)
But if we must carry around a “driver’s” license, it’d be nice if acquiring one took more demonstration of ability to drive than standing in front of a biometric camera and get 20 out of 30 questions about traffic laws right.
. . .
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