I wrote another column on this subject last March and an update a few weeks ago, but it really came home to roost personally in the last two weeks. Just when you think our state government can’t pass a dumber law, you find one that sets a new record. This is the law that allows the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle department (FHSMV) to force you to take written, driving, hearing and eye examinations based on any person who says you are an impaired driver. No evidence is required, just the say-so of any person in the USA. As if this isn’t dumb enough, the informant remains anonymous and is indemnified from any civil or criminal liability. This means that if you don’t like the way Florida Governor Rick Scott is doing his job, all you have to do is download a form from the FHSMV website (www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/faqmed.html), fill it out, and email it to Tallahassee. He will be investigated as to his driving impairment and can be required to take a written, driving, eye, and hearing exam. If you wanted to “rub it in” you could voluntarily dispense with your granted anonymity and tell the Governor that you did this just because you don’t like him and he could not prosecute you criminally or sue you in a civil court.
Somebody turned me in and I will be going through these various driving tests. I strongly suspect that I know the identity of the person who turned me in. This person bears a personal grudge against me and knows that I’m a perfectly good driver without any “impairment”, but I have no choice but to follow the dictates of the FHSMV with great inconvenience and embarrassment. The changes I wish to make in the law are to hold accountable people who maliciously turn in others. I should be able to sue this person in a civil count for libel. And I certainly should be able to learn the identity of that person under my constitutional right to face my accuser. Dictatorships like Iran and communist countries like China, not democracies like us, encourage anonymous informants to accuse their fellow citizens without proof and punish the accused, allowing them no means of recourse or retaliation against their accuser.
If all of the above isn’t enough to anger or frighten you about this law, how about this? More than ten thousand such letters were mailed out by the FHSMV last year and more than seven thousand Florida drivers lost their licenses. Most of those who lost their right to drive were never tested. They simply chose not to show up and their licenses were automatically revoked. I’ve spoken to some of these drivers who called me as a result of this blog and my radio show. Their reasoning is that if they don’t show up and just keep driving, there is a very small chance of them ever being stopped by a policeman. Many never have been stopped because they are very good drivers. If they should be stopped, they can claim they never received the letter (It isn’t mailed certified). However, if they do take the test, there’s always a chance they may flunk something. Older drivers haven’t taken any kind of a written test in decades. It’s a little scary. Or how good is their hearing or eyesight? How good does the DHSMV expect their hearing and eyesight to be? There’s nothing in the letter to tell the recipient what criteria for hearing or eyesight is expected. What 70 year old hears and sees as well as she did 50 years ago? They reason that if they take the chance and fail, they are in far worse shape than if they simply gamble and continue to drive with no license. Why this all should anger and frighten you, is that all of these thousands of drivers with no licenses also have no insurance. What happens if one of them is involved in an accident with you?
Some of you may have seen the TV converge on my personal situation. As I type this article, I’m awaiting a call from a major national news organization. All of the journalists that I’ve spoken to are equally aghast at this very bad Florida law. I discussed this twice on my Saturday radio show and my listeners were shocked that such a law could have been passed. By bringing this bad law out into the “cold light of day” through this blog and the media we can collectively change it.
I’m asking you and anybody you know to send an email to MyDriversLicense@ESToyota.com and state “Name and hold accountable those who would take away my right to drive” or whatever you would like to say in your own words. You can also fax this to 561 858-0746. I would especially like to hear from anybody that has received one of these letters from the DHSMV. Most importantly, please sign my petition at www.DumbLaw.org. I will forward all of your emails, faxes, and our signed petition to our Florida legislators as well as member of the Executive branch, including Rick Scott. I wonder if anybody will report him as an impaired driver…I certainly hope not. Oh, just in case you missed the website where you can download that form to report people, it’s www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/faqmed.html.