Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Utah Senate Bill 34: The Driving Nazis are at it Again

Senate Bill 34 in 2008 is the recapitulation of a bill that was introduced in the Utah legislative session of 2007. Like last year, it would allow confidential notification of bad driving. It is wrong to not let a driver be confronted with the witnesses of his or her supposedly bad driving. This is bad law. It should be voted down again like it was last year.

Some have said that the word Nazi is used too cavalierly. But even Nazism started with relatively innocuous ideas that many people supported.

Senate Bill 84 in 2007 ("CONFIDENTIALITY OF REPORTS TO DRIVER LICENSE DIVISION") was sponsored by Senator Allen Christensen. In 2008, a bill (SB 34 this time) with the same title is being sponsored by the same Senator. It failed last year in the Senate by a vote of 10-18 with 1 senator absent.

Admittedly, Senate Bill 34 is an improvement over last year, because it no longer allows anonymous notification and it clarifies that the person notifying the driver license division must request that the notification be treated as confidential:
50 (3) (a) A person making a notification under Subsection (1) may request that the
51 notification be confidential.
56 (c) The division may not accept an anonymous notification under this section.
But the following paragraph exists in SB 34 verbatim from last year's SB 84, which makes it bad law.
52 (b) If requested by the person notifying the division, the notification provided under
53 this section relating to a physical, mental, or emotional impairment is classified as a protected
54 record under Title 63, Chapter 2, Government Records Access and Management Act, and the
55 identity of the person notifying the division may not be disclosed by the division.
I made the following comment last year about the proposed new law, but after further study, I no longer think it's an issue.
Even though those who report bad drivers will have to sign an affidavit, the fact that they can remain anonymous raises the likelihood that erroneous and harassing reports of bad driving will significantly increase.
I also stated last year that
Such a law, designed to protect family members from hurting each other's feelings would be worse than a waste of time. It is the responsibility of family members to take care of each other, even to the extent that they keep other family members off the road if they are not capable of driving safely.

Just as in a court of law, where a defendant is allowed to know who his accusers are, bad drivers should be allowed to know who reported their bad driving.

Families should not pass the buck to the government on such a simple issue.
I still stand by that opinion. Family members should first approach their bad drivers and tell them about their concern. If the bad driver doesn't agree, and the family member thinks his or her driving is bad enough, the family member should contact the driver's license division.

But the bad driver should know that the report was made. That would be the safest thing that could happen--and the fairest--and the most loving. Hard, yes, but that's how it should be done.

I think Senate Bill 34 should be defeated.




3 comments:

  1. This bill was written by my senator. I am personally acquainted with him. I told him last year that I was opposed to his bill. Like you, my opinion hasn't changed.

    When I was in junior high school, we had a lesson on how good comrades in the USSR were encouraged to report their neighbor's suspicious behavior to the authorities. I can remember being horrified. This bill smacks of that same kind of thing.

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  2. I have a cop friend who tells whiny people who want to report drivers that they can't do it, unless they are willing to sign the ticket themselves. She uses it to cut down on her paper work.

    I think government should govern like I govern my kids... "Unless the other kid is doing something that puts him or you in serious danger, don't worry about him, just worry about you."

    Way to many whiners out there... I'm opposed to this too.

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  3. Besides, this takes the legislature away from more important things, such as having hearings on steroids in professional sports!!! The US Congress is having to shoulder the burden on this MOST IMPORTANT issue.

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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