Most websites, particularly those offering a product or service, have an About Us section. That is where curious online viewers can learn more about the website sponsor, albeit through a controlled narrative.
For an advocacy organization like the NMA, About Us can serve multiple purposes. It can inform those who are thinking about becoming a member and want to learn more. The media may examine About Us to obtain background information or a specific angle for a story. Those who are philosophically opposed to one or more NMA positions have been known to scan our site for ammunition to discredit our arguments. We must therefore describe who we are and what we stand for with purpose and clarity.
With the redesign of our flagship website Motorists.org at hand, we are also updating the About Us description. The existing version has been in place for several years. When we roll out the enhanced Motorists site this summer, About Us will include six tenets that largely define our mission to protect motorists’ rights:
We are a grassroots alliance of motorists joined together to protect our rights in the courts, on the streets, and in our vehicles. National Motorists Association members number in the thousands and are active in all 50 states as well as in several provinces of Canada.
The NMA has empowered drivers since 1982. We fight for the driving freedoms of motorists. We lobby for traffic regulations and enforcement actions based on safety considerations, not a line item on the income side of a city, county, or state budget.
Among the principles we advocate:
- Traffic safety through sound engineering and real driver training
Lives are saved on the highway through proven engineering solutions such as setting speed limits at their safest levels, i.e., slightly above the natural prevailing speed of free-flowing traffic, and through driver education programs that emphasize early advanced driving-skill development both on-road and in controlled learning environments.
- Traffic laws fairly written and reasonably enforced
Traffic laws and penalties should be based on sensible standards that differentiate between responsible behaviors and demonstrated unsafe actions. If a driver is acting in a reasonable and prudent manner with no one placed in harm’s way and no property put at risk, then no penalty should apply. Command-and-control tactics like speed traps and red-light cameras do not constitute reasonable enforcement. Revenue motives corrupt the process, a problem exacerbated by the hiring of private, for-profit contractors as proxies for local law enforcement.
- Freedom from arbitrary traffic stops and unwarranted searches/seizures
Roadblocks are used to cast a wide net that targets hundreds of thousands of innocent motorists to catch relative few offenders. Probable cause has become so loosely defined that it is subject to the whims of roadside “justice.” No motorist’s property should be taken without a finding of guilt in a fair criminal trial.
- Freedom from invasive surveillance
Myriad surveillance schemes – among them the tracking of motorists and vehicles by GPS, indiscriminate license plate data collection and retention, and the use of the driver’s license as a national ID card – do irreparable harm to the privacy rights of motorists.
- Full due process for motorists
A fair trial is a fundamental constitutional right that has been increasingly stripped away from motorists. Our system of justice is based on the principle that people are considered innocent until proven guilty, but drivers – and vehicle owners in cases involving automated enforcement – are frequently presumed to be at fault and then subjected to administrative hearings that rubber-stamp guilty verdicts. This denies them basic rights such as discovery, trial by jury, and often the ability to question their accuser.
- Reasonable highway user fees for maintaining and improving highways, not for financing non-highway projects
Having road users pay for upkeep and expansion of roads and bridges is fair. Charging them twice – as taxpayers and as drivers through the use of tolls and various fees – is not, particularly when the highway infrastructure continues to crumble and funds purposed for road improvements are funneled to unrelated projects.
For a detailed history of the NMA’s first 30 years of advocacy and a look forward, go to /-first-30/nma30years.pdf.