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The Motorist Bill Of Rights

Posted on May 16th, 2008 in | 3 Comments

The Motorist Bill Of Rights
We’ve had this on our website for many years, but it’s worth posting here for anyone who isn’t familiar with it.

Motorists deserve to have their rights protected. It’s the principle that the NMA was founded on:

  1. The right to traffic regulation based on sound engineering principles and public consensus.
  2. Clear guarantees that revenue collected from highway users for highway purposes be used for such purposes, and that all streets, roads, and highways be properly maintained, signed and regulated in a manner that expedites travel.
  3. Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee that all traffic stops will be based on probable cause.
  4. The right to choose the type of vehicle and related equipment that best meets an individual’s needs and preferences.
  5. Protection from discourteous and reckless drivers including those who deliberately impede traffic, who threaten other motorists with their actions, or who are impaired or incompetent.
  6. Freedom from unreasonable surcharges, fees, taxes, and fines.
  7. Complete access to all public streets, roads, and highways, free of arbitrary restrictions, exorbitant fees, or governmental attempts to dictate personal travel choices.
  8. Freedom from driver license suspensions or revocations for non-driving violations or matters of personal conduct.
  9. Protection from arbitrary and exploitative insurance industry practices.
  10. The right to a fair and impartial trial for traffic offenses, including a trial by jury if requested by the defendant.

Send this list to your legislators to remind them to protect your rights instead of protecting their wallets.


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3 Responses to “The Motorist Bill Of Rights”

  1. Shydog says:

    You suggestions should also include the right to privacy which would prohibit the Government sharing your driving records with insurance companies or anyone else. Something similar was recently passed by Congress which prohibits insurance companies access to DNA information so what is the deal with driving records? Here in Germany and in Mexico (where I reside in the Winter) it is illegal for the Government to give anyone’s driving records (or anything else for that matter) to private individuals or companies. In the US, this is accepted as a normal day-to-day business activity.

  2. paula martin says:

    Agree with the post above.

    COPY OF THE ORIGINAL PROPOSALS 10/05/06:Submitted to members of the Ca. legislature–No action noted.

    I am contacting you for assistance in providing a measure of justice, which is currently lacking for those issued traffic tickets.
    I was inadvertently introduced to the current system at 68 years of age. I was issued a traffic ticket for unsafe starting, which was changed to unsafe turning movement. The officer issuing the ticket went back to where the alleged violation occurred and found himself to be in error in observing a right hand turn pocket that doesn’t exist. Consequently, the original traffic ticket itself was altered, and a notice of correction was mailed to me, changing the violation to unsafe turning movement.
    The Court docket read a violation of VC 22107, unsafe lane change or turn which is incorrect because I neither changed lanes nor turned from that lane. The traffic referee convicted me of failure to signal, something I am sure a jury would never do because there is no vehicle code covering a slight movement with a car remaining in the same lane.
    In short, I have through observation of court trails and research and in addition to my experience, found the system being heavily weighed for this city so that a person can be innocent of the charge and still be found guilty.
    For this reason, I am proposing the following measures being taken:
    Proposal #1
    Have a percentage of fines collected from traffic tickets go to another government agency. This would keep cities more honest in focusing on traffic safety, rather on tickets as a source of revenue.
    Proposal #2
    When discovery (a record of video and the officer’s notes) is not provided within 10 days of receipt of the request, a fine of $500.00 should be imposed, ½ to go to the court, and ½ to the defendant with the case dismissed.
    This is more in line with sanctions for not providing discovery in civil cases, and would remove the tendency for police stations to disregard a discovery request, compelling the defendant to request a hearing through the court to obtain something that is their right by law.
    Additionally the court can impose such a minor fine that the right to discovery has no meaning.
    Proposal #3
    For those who wish to provide evidence that they were charged in error, a jury trial should be available. This was previously the case for all, but to the determent of justice this protection was removed for those accused of an infraction. I argue that those cited for a minor traffic violation should have the same rights as those charged with something more serious. The right to a jury trial for all needs to be reinstated.
    Proposal #4
    Previously when a defendant went to trial on a traffic ticket a prosecutor was provided. This right to have an impartial judge or traffic referee act in that manner was removed to the determent of the defendant. A severe conflict of interest is in place when the presiding judge is expected to play two roles, one as a prosecutor and impartial judge. Too often the defendant has no recourse when the judge enters the court with the attitude of a prosecutor.
    If the violation is minor, there is no reason not to have a prosecutor present, as was previously the case.
    Proposal #5
    The case should be dismissed in all minor traffic cases where a sentence limit of five days set by state law isn’t complied with.
    This would prevent judges and traffic referees from arbitrarily deciding to ignore the five-day rule for minor traffic violations where the defendant was charged as guilty.
    I have observed in court that the usual is the defendant pleads guilty, waives the six-hour provision for sentence to be imposed and the sentence (fine) stated immediately.
    When a judge or traffic referee finds himself able to impose a fine immediately for those who plead guilty, there is no excuse for him not to be able to state the fine for those defendants who have plead not guilty but whom he has ruled against.
    Proposal #6
    Notice of Correction Forms should clearly state that they be used for correcting clerical errors only. Too many police stations are using these forms to change one citation for another. This denies the defendant of due process when the NOTICE of CORRECTION is used in this manner. Essentially this is a back door method of ALTERING the ticket (which is illegal), from one charge to another. Additionally because some police honor the intent of the legislative statute while others do not, depending on which city the ticket is issued in, decides whether or not the defendant is accorded the proper process of the law canceling one violation before issuing another by bringing it before the court.
    I propose if the violation is changed from one to another that the case be dismissed. This would return the notice of correction to the proper and consistent use by police departments.
    Proposal #7
    That court brochures refrain from preachy admonishments that fines are for the driver’s safety. Brochures are updated on a regular basis and should in the interest of justice inform the defendant of their rights.
    1. The right to copies of the citing officers video, notes, ticket issued front and back. A written request for this information should be submitted in writing to the citing police officer, the court where the case will be heard, and the district attorney.
    2. The right to object to the officer reading from his notes during trial.
    3. The right to have a record of the trial or to use a personal recorder. To insure this will be provided submit a simple request before trial.
    4. The right to be sentenced no sooner than 6 hrs. after a guilty verdict or no later than 5 days.
    5. The right to request a new trial anytime, written or oral, before sentence is passed. This should not involve significant cost as brochures are updated.
    The other proposals should also have minor or no financial impact, as few defendants would opt for a trial preferring to simply pay the fine even when disagreeing with the citation. The possibility exists that it might even be cost effective for cities to collect money in a more direct fashion than imposing fines with all the attendant court costs (judges, police, clerks at courts, and police stations) and to concentrate on road conditions, really reckless drivers etc.
    I have documentation to verify what can go wrong by my personal experience. Please do contact me should you wish to comment or discuss any of these proposals by mail.

  3. ronny frazee says:

    Im really affraid of whats happining in america.we are losing are kids in a war fighting for our freedom meanwhile are prisons are filling up i mean commercial concentration camps and more laws are passed and more jails are being built and over poopulated and the money kick downs are making are law makers more and more money wich includ MADD. both of my grandfathers fought in the army big red 1 and my father was big red one and all bleed for us all to have freedom. And its really sad that we have road blocks and there not dwi check points whene they run your name check that all youre affairs are in order. i remember as a kid hearing that russia did the same thing but back thene they were stories told to us to let us know how lucky we were to live here now were evan worse ie concetration camps and all are cival rights are basicly gone having to prove are innocents rather than them having to prove are guilt




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