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The King’s Road

Proposed State of Oregon Senate Bill 1018 has a noble cause–stopping drunk driving. Unfortunately, it also carries with it the essence of the nanny state. The bill would allow for police departments all over Oregon to set up roadblocks to catch drunk drivers.

SECTION 1. (1) As used in this section, “sobriety checkpoint” means a roadblock established for the purpose of apprehending persons who are driving while under the influence of intoxicants in violation of ORS 813.010.

Of course, anyone who’s been caught by the EPD in an end-of-the-quarter ticket sting knows that roadblocks like the ones proposed in the bill will inevitably act as a means of guaranteed tax generation. And you best believe that most of the tickets issued won’t be for “issues pertaining to sobriety”. Nay, these roadblocks act as way to nickel-and-dime ordinary citizens (or at the very least, harass them). And what better way to do it? Why have actively patrolling police officers, wasting gas and time when you can just pay a few sheriffs to hang out, let the money come to them and check to make sure everyone has their papers in order?

These laws are the precursors to systems like that of Britain, in which–I kid you not–the roads have “average speed” cameras. They don’t just take a picture of your license plate as you drive by, they actually make you average at or below a set speed between a certain distance.

I’m not sure what the state legislation is thinking on this one. Maybe they were tired of us not paying the toll for driving on the King’s road.

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