I would like to respond to Detective John Girolamo's letter of Aug. 23 regarding whether or not driving a car is a right.
Girolamo wrote, "Driving a vehicle is not a right under the Constitution, it is a privilege that can be taken away at any time." This statement that he makes is absolutely wrong. It is a statement that has prevailed in government bodies for many years; however, law does not support it as being true.
The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The 10th Amendment to the Constitution states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
In other words driving a car is absolutely a right of the people, regardless of what federal, state and local laws and policies have to say about it. No law or policy can infringe upon the rights guaranteed us by the Constitution.
Furthermore, people own the cars they drive and the roads that we drive upon. Roads are not the property of the government, they are the property of the people. We have the right to use the property that belongs to us, (refer to Amendments above).
With that said, in the interest of public safety, we must restrict the rights of those who have abused their rights by driving drunk and endangering others. That does not, however, mean that the government can infringe upon the rights of others at a whim. There must be a demonstrated reason for placing a roadblock at a certain time and location, and the statement that "driving is a privilege," does not suffice to this purpose.
I actually approve of roadblocks for the purpose of catching drunks. But, they should be placed in locations and times where there is a proven high incidence of drunk-driving offenses, and the law enforcement officials should have evidence available to prove this to the people when asked. This, I feel, satisfies the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.
Bob O'Brien, Payson