Driving is NOT a privilege

Once again yesterday I heard someone in our legal system make the statement and argument that “driving is a privilege.”  It was an immigration judge.  And whenever I hear someone make a statement or point their finger, I try to ask myself if the opposite is true. Many times I am surprised that it is.

First, I’d like to say that I find it appalling that the secretary of state in Illinois and our legal system has come to the conclusion that driving is a privilege for drivers. It is apparently based on a legal decision made by the courts that driving instead of being a right is a privilege.  The courts have the right to make whatever statement they want since we do live in supposedly a free country but I personally believe driving is actually neither a right nor a privilege, it is a necessity and a responsibility.

And if you really think about it, the privilege is the government’s not ours. They have the privilege to regulate, control and facilitate our driving.

So please, judge, state attorney, city attorney, secretary of state, explain to me how driving is a privilege. Who purchased my car? Who pays for the gas? Who pays for the insurance? Who pays for the maintenance? Who pays for the children’s car-seats? Who drives my children to daycare? Who buys medication for my children late at night? How do the children go to their after-school sport activities? Who pays for the tolls? Who pays for our highways and bridges? How do I get to work? Who pays for the police, the sheriffs, the courts, etc? Driving is not even a privilege in European cities or in New York city, where public transportation is excellent and where arguably, one can live without a car. In those places driving could be called a luxury, but like here in Chicago, driving is also a responsibility and a necessity but never a privilege. The statement “driving privileges” must be changed immediately by our government to “driving responsibilities.”

In the U.S. most of us don’t have a choice around buying a car. Our public transportation is simply not good enough and in most cases, it is basically impossible to survive without a vehicle. Our government has set up our infrastructure and our lives so that people can buy cars and pay for car services conveniently. There are really few alternatives, if any, for those that cannot afford a car or choose to live without one. Our government clearly has given privileges to gas and car companies but not to the common people. Paying for a car, gas and services involving vehicles is always a struggle.

So in short, as things stand today, I ask our government to refrain from stating that our necessity to drive is a “privilege.” It is your privilege that we do drive, not ours, because you live, exist and gain from our driving, not the other way around.

 Copyright © 2013 Jorge Luis Carbajosa

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