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emanon

Driving Laws

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In Australia, we have a ridiculously prolonged process one must go through to get their drivers licences.

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1 year on "Learners Plates" - You must be accompanied at all times by a fully-licensed adult.

Practical Driving Test. If you pass, you proceed to the following stage.

1 Year on a "Red Provisional Licence" which restricts when you can drive, who and how many passengers you can carry. A Zero blood-alcohol level at all times. Restrictions on the type of vehicle you can drive (eg. No greater than 6 cylinders, no turbo etc)

Then you must do a "Road Hazard Awareness Test" which is a computer simulated hazard test.

2 Years on a "Green Provisional Licence" which continues to the restriction of a Zero Blood Alcohol and the vehicle restrictions.

Then Finally you get your "open" licence.

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Perhaps the most ridiculous thing too, is that while the Provisional licences increase the restrictions, they also restrict the time frame in which you can acquire demerit points.

"Open Licence" drivers receive 12 demerit points for a 3 year period.

We receive 4 demerit points for a one year period.

And then, interestingly, while Open Licence holders have 3 years to accumulate their demerit points, their probationary periods if their licence is disqualified are the same length as the provisional licence holder.

That is to say that if you loose all 12 demerit points in the first year, your licence is disqualified for 3months.

On a provisional licence, if you loose the 4 demerit points in a year, your licence is also disqualified for 3 months.

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Does this seem like a fair system to you? To me, the restrictions seem to be a violation of rights, because they impose penalties on you simply because you are young, not because you have broken any laws. They also impose further laws for you to break, and if you are a young driver, it is likely you will probably make a few mistakes and 1-2 mistakes are all you need to lose a provisional licence!

Am I incorrect in thinking this unjust?

Edited by emanon

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While I understand the reasoning behind such a pedantic process, I do think it is a bit 'over the top' and infringing on our rights. However since it's designed to reduce the number of car accidents, deaths etc I'd say that the QLD government (not sure how it is in other states) is justified.

They also impose further laws for you to break, and if you are a young driver, it is likely you will probably make a few mistakes and 1-2 mistakes are all you need to lose a provisional licence!

I sometimes wonder whether they do this on purpose so as to get more money..like with fines, that's a whole different topic, but man they are ridiculously high for such insignificant things.

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However since it's designed to reduce the number of car accidents, deaths etc I'd say that the QLD government (not sure how it is in other states) is justified.

But if you apply that same logic you can justify almost anything at the expense of anyones rights. It becomes an argument of the "greater good" rather than individual rights.

I believe that, on statistics alone, "black American's" are a few percent more likely to commit crimes than white Americans. Does that mean we should restrict or alter the laws that all people with black skin must follow?

The answer is obviously No. You can't punish someone for a crime they haven't committed yet, and you can't make laws that effect an entire group based on the assumption that a generalized group of the population are more likely to break a certain law. That is denial of individual rights, is it not?

Edited by emanon

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Drivers need to prove that they are able to drive safely, and some additional vetting for non-adult drivers is reasonable. But I will say, that does seem excessive.The problem is that the proper restrictions lie between the rationalistic extremes of anarchic unrestricted driving and no driving at all because of the possibility of an accident. The system basically says that if you can prove that you can control your behavior much more than you would be required to do ordinarily, then there's a good chance that you could actually manage to drive safely for the rest of your life. Of course that's not a guarantee, but if a person can be disciplined enough to not drink and drive at all for 3 years, then it's credible to think that they could keep it under .05. Whereas, if a person cannot muster the will power to refrain from alcohol if they're going to drive and they blow a .04 for a short period, then likely they will have problems staying under .05 later. It's unlikely that there is any science to back up the presumption that 3 years is required.

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I am under the impression that most, if not all, driving laws are, with regard to objectivism, unethical and impinge upon the rights of motorists. As an example, I submit speed limits as, at least on a public road, unethical. Should I not have the freedom to drive as slowly or quickly as I see fit, according to my own personal motive? And if, by chance, I slam head-on into another vehicle at 140mph of twisted metal and torn flesh, should I not be responsible for the damage I've caused? My point is this: Aren't speed limit laws implementations of that evil principle of equating the potential with the actual? I could drive 90mph and kill a child, yes; I could also drive 165mph, without a limiter perhaps, and cause no harm or injury to anyone. For the same reasons that I should be allowed to build, maintain, and use a weapon, shouldn't I be free to speed?

Of course, this all applies to a public road. I understand that if roads were privatized, it would be up to the owner of the road, in agreement with the motorists.

And I realize that my post is only vaguely related to the specifics of your post, but I thought this was an appropriate topic in which to begin this dialog.

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^^The black American analogy is a good point, but while it is wrong to create laws against a group based on facts that they're likely to break a certain law, those concerning a drivers license are only temporary (as in the 3 year process) and the whole point of the process is to instill a sense of..'caution' or 'awareness' in young people. I don't like the idea of it all, since the laws really do infringe on rights. But since we're talking about people learning to drive a car (and there are some wreckless drivers out there), I don't see any other way around it? Making the laws more lenient, I imagine some drivers would be a bit more careless and that's all you need for an accident. Btw I don't have a drivers license myself (I'm still on my learners, to be honest i'm kinda 'scared' of driving), so I'm just speaking from that perspective.

You can't punish someone for a crime they haven't committed yet, and you can make laws that effect an entire group based on the assumption that a generalized group of the population are more likely to break a certain law. That is denial of individual rights, is it not?

It is.

1 Year on a "Red Provisional Licence" which restricts when you can drive, who and how many passengers you can carry.

I'm actually very much against this one.

I'd elaborate more, but I have to head on out now!

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I am under the impression that most, if not all, driving laws are, with regard to objectivism, unethical and impinge upon the rights of motorists.
No, not at all. Driving laws are perfectly fine, the problem is the government ownership of the roads. Given that the government owns the road, there clearly must be rules (called "laws") regarding how one behaves on the road. Objectivism isn't just "a philosophy for a perfect world", it's a philosophy for the real world. The free market doesn't mean driving-anarchy.

There's already a thread on the matter of DUI, active within the past week. Speed limits are the same principle.

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Drivers need to prove that they are able to drive safely, and some additional vetting for non-adult drivers is reasonable.

Sure. I agree in generally with what you have said, but the problem I have with it, is that people do make mistakes, and assumably younger drivers will do likewise.

Take speeding as an example. Every now and again, it is possible that you will not see that particularly obscure change of speed sign. And of course, police and their radars love such places for that exact reason.

My point being, there are times when you will break the law for the simple fact that we are not omniscient. If we were talking about murder, or theft etc sure. It's almost always going to be black and white. Either you stole with knowledge of your action, or you didn't steal at all.

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I'll confess to my motivations as to why I started this thread, I just received the letter in the mail which declares that my licence is void due to having accumulate 4 demerit points. The two infringements that lead to this were:

1. Caught by a stationary radar speeding greater than 13km/h over the speed limit. This was 3 demerit points and a $300ish fine. Occurred about 6 months ago.

I was doing seventy-something km/h in a sixty km/h zone. At the time, I thought it was a 70km/h road, and most of the traffic around me was doing the same speed. That's not supposed to be justification, I accept the fine as I went back and checked and sure enough, there was a speed sign I hadn't noticed. I'm Just explaining.

2. Broken Tail Lights. Turns out that a few weeks ago, the switch that turns on my lights had broken so that it only turned on my headlights and not my tail lights. I didn't know this at the time. Anyway, the officer gave me a ticket for a $100 fine.

The next day I went and paid my fine for the tail lights and then took my car to get fixed. What I didn't realise and what no one told me until I received a letter a week later was that I also lost a demerit point for the tail lights. This obviously made 4 points = No Licence.

I am not able to contest this because I have already paid the fine, which is considered a declaration that I accept the infringement.

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No, not at all. Driving laws are perfectly fine, the problem is the government ownership of the roads. Given that the government owns the road, there clearly must be rules (called "laws") regarding how one behaves on the road. Objectivism isn't just "a philosophy for a perfect world", it's a philosophy for the real world. The free market doesn't mean driving-anarchy.

There's already a thread on the matter of DUI, active within the past week. Speed limits are the same principle.

And so, the valid discussion to be had regards who creates these laws and whether or not they are rational?

Does my original premise hold on a private road? If I own a road, and I stipulate that there are no speed limits, is that rationally acceptable and legally justifiable*, so long as, in the event of a collision, both parties are adjusted properly in court?

I thought that Objectivism was a philosophy for an obtainable and nearly-perfect world. Is that an incorrect description? Assuming "perfect" strictly means an adherence to Objectivist principles.

*I don't want to muddy the discussion with an "is/ought" dichotomy. I realize that it may not be legally justifiable now to establish such a road, but my question is not of current actualities. Rather, it is a question of "ought".

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Does my original premise hold on a private road? If I own a road, and I stipulate that there are no speed limits, is that rationally acceptable and legally justifiable*, so long as, in the event of a collision, both parties are adjusted properly in court?

I would say yes, because by using that road, you are agreeing to the conditions. This is fine, because you have the freedom to not use that road if you wish, so ultimately it is your choice, and your responsibility.

The only problem with this is that the Government would no doubt try and impose some sort of "Duty of Care" upon the Road owner.

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No, not at all. Driving laws are perfectly fine, the problem is the government ownership of the roads. Given that the government owns the road, there clearly must be rules (called "laws") regarding how one behaves on the road. Objectivism isn't just "a philosophy for a perfect world", it's a philosophy for the real world. The free market doesn't mean driving-anarchy.

I understand you and agree that some (but to me, more limited) rules are justifiable for driving due to the inherent danger.

What are your feelings about privatized roads then as a practical issue? If roads were privatized do you believe that owners of the road can make their roads an "anything goes" area? Or do you believe that in this case safety trumps private rights?

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Does my original premise hold on a private road? If I own a road, and I stipulate that there are no speed limits, is that rationally acceptable and legally justifiable*, so long as, in the event of a collision, both parties are adjusted properly in court?
Yes, certainly.
I thought that Objectivism was a philosophy for an obtainable and nearly-perfect world. Is that an incorrect description? Assuming "perfect" strictly means an adherence to Objectivist principles.
No, Objectivism is a philosophy which can be applies in any world, and if follow will lead to a near perfect world. A near-perfect world is not a precondition for applying Objectivist philosophy. So, Objectivism can still be applied where there are improper laws.

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