Driver Beware

A couple bills that were introduced last week caught my eye, per the Associated Press…
I’ll begin with what I consider the “good” news. Senator Deb Fischer of Valentine introduced a bill that would change the way speeders are fined in construction zones. As it stands, any driver caught speeding in a construction zone is required to pay double the standard fine, regardless of whether or not there is any construction work being done at the time. Per LB111, speeders would be issued the standard fine if no construction crew was present.
In a state like Nebraska where it seems that construction zones are as perpetual as death and taxes I’m sure we’ve all wondered aloud or to ourselves whether or not some construction zones are left in place for no other reason than to help pay the state’s bills through higher penalties. And so, I tip my hat to you on this one Deb. You seem to have a firm grasp on where to draw the line.
And now that the line has been drawn… maybe I should point out where another member of the Unicameral, Senator John Harms of Scottsbluff takes that line and gives it a little stretch. According to LB106, police would have the authority to pull over any driver who is not wearing their seatbelt.
Although the AP was quick to point out that “about half” of the states already have such a law in the books, they also jumped on the “Ernie Chambers” aspect of the story: Omaha’s eccentric senator who was ousted this year by term limits opposed similar bills several times. He feared that it would give officers an excuse to pull over minorities without just cause.
Although I don’t often side with Mr. Chambers, nor do I think this bill should be opposed because of racial profiling alone, Ernie DOES bring up the very important “4th amendment” issue. It’s certainly not far fetched that an overzealous officer – or even a merely “zealous” officer for that matter might use this bill to push “warrantless search and seizure” to the limit.
We’re all for giving our brave men and women of the law every reasonable tool to fight crime, but as a very good friend of mine pointed out – the foundation of that tool box should be a strong moral principal coupled with an understanding of liberty.
Even if we don’t want to get our minds wrapped around THAT constitutional arguement, we must still ask ourselves if it is prudent of ANY government body, from local municipalities all the way up to the federal government to protect the individual from himself.


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One response to “Driver Beware

  1. Pingback: Up in Smoke « NebraskaLiberty’s Unicam Watch

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