The Driving in America Blog was started a year ago to bring more information to those who are beginning their journey as motorists’ rights advocates. Over the next several months, I will be working with each of the seven NMA principles to give readers of this weekly blog some idea of what we all are working towards as association members. We thank you for your support and please, if you have questions, ask below in the comments section.
Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 1: Traffic Safety through Sound Engineering and Real Driver Training
Check out the Driving in America on Principle Number 2: Traffic Laws Fairly Written and Reasonably Enforced
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 relatively 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.
The NMA has an entire website devoted to roadblocks at www.roadblock.org that we ask the public to curate. People like you who are fed up with the command tactics of the police.
We oppose the use of roadblocks, period.
The only justification for stopping citizens under a roadblock scenario is to warn them of an unseen peril that could cause injury or death to an unsuspecting motorist.
So-called “sobriety check points,” or seat belt checks, or the myriad of other excuses the government concocts to harass and intimidate its citizens through the use of roadblocks are, in our opinion unconstitutional and in direct contradiction to any honest definition of freedom.
A free and open society that champions individual liberty and personal responsibility — the kind of society we try to tell the world the USA represents, cannot condone the arbitrary stopping, interrogating, intimidation and searching of citizens whose only crime is to be peacefully traveling a public highway.
Roadblocks, as used in the US, are designed and intended to use fear, intimidation, and inconvenience to expedite a government edict or a political agenda. They have a net zero influence on public safety. But, even if there were a “safety benefit” related to roadblocks, it would not outweigh the negative totalitarian nature of this practice.
Roadblocks, as used in the United States, are designed and intended to use fear, intimidation, and inconvenience to expedite a government edict or a political agenda.
They have a net zero influence on public safety. But, even if there were a “safety benefit” related to roadblocks, it would not outweigh the negative totalitarian nature of this practice.
Currently, roadblocks are being used to circumvent the need for probable cause to stop, interrogate, and search the occupants of motor vehicles. The pretense might be a seatbelt check, registration or driver’s license verification, proof of insurance, or a “safety” inspection. The short sighted court system has readily approved the practice of using a trumped up pretense to stop a vehicle to provide new opportunities to look for other violations of the law.
Given that it is virtually impossible to do anything in America without violating one or more laws, especially while driving, roadblocks give the police the opportunity to abuse any individual or group they chose to target.
The reincarnated prohibitionist movement has seized upon the roadblock tactic as a means to employ fear in their holy war against “Demon Rum.”
Many of the current DWI laws have nothing to do with addressing drunk driving as a safety problem. This is a campaign to disparage the use of beverages containing alcohol and to undermine the hospitality industry that sells these beverages. (Time for a disclaimer, The NMA does not have any affiliation with the beverage or hospitality industries.)
The proponents of DWI roadblocks readily and publicly admit that the purpose of roadblocks is not to catch drunk drivers (which they seldom do). The purpose is to intimidate and to make people fearful of drinking and driving—no matter how little or responsibly they may do so. This tactic is aimed directly at people who drink in a responsible manner and who are not over-represented in traffic accidents.
The advocates of DWI roadblocks also admit that roadblocks do offer the opportunity to arrest people for drunk driving who would not otherwise be arrested based on their ability to drive safely. The unreasonable and unscientific blood alcohol standard of .08% allows the arrest and conviction as a drunk driver, regardless of actual impairment. This absurdity is expanded by the use of roadblocks.
Here is some additional information on roadblocks that might be useful:
- 5 Things You Need to Know about Roadblocks
- How to Handle Yourself at a Roadblock
- Your Rights at a Roadblock
- The Politics of Roadblocks
- The Fourth Amendment is Dead
- 5 Federal Court Cases that Weakened the Fourth Amendment
Civil Asset Forfeiture
The February 2019 US Supreme Court unanimous decision that curtails excessive government fines and property seizures has provided further impetus for one of the NMA’s primary lobbying initiatives: civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform. The decision received broad bipartisan praise. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the ruling that the excessive fines clause is a fundamental restriction that applies to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the SCOTUS decision is monumental, the fight is far from over. Some states still allow the seizure of property from citizens — motorists are prime targets — who have never been charged with a crime. Our work for reform at the federal and state levels continues in earnest.
Here is some additional information from the NMA on Civil Asset Forfeiture:
- The Push for Civil Asset Forfeiture Heats Up
- Civil Asset Forfeiture—Why Should We Care?
- Civil Asset Forfeiture Takes a Turn
- Is our Property Guilty until Proven Innocent?
Join the National Motorists Association today and help us lobby against roadblocks, checkpoints and civil asset forfeiture.