Georgia Republican: Driver’s License Violates Inalienable Rights

Tired of the oppression of having to have a license to operate a motor vehicle? Your champion is here:

Republican Georgia state legislator Bobby Franklin thinks that driver’s licenses impose undue restrictions on the right of citizens to travel. So he’s proposed legislation to stop the state from issuing them.

“Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose,” Franklin’s legislation states. “Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.”

In an interview with CBS Atlanta News, Franklin claimed driver’s licenses are a throw back to oppressive times.  “Agents of the state demanding your papers,” he said. “We’re getting that way here.” He said there wasn’t a reason for people to need to know who was whom on the roads, and that there’s nothing in place to stop children from driving anyways.

While Franklin is probably right that the licensing requirement doesn’t do much to keep unsafe drivers off the road, the rationale is hardly unreasonable. In olden times, persons traveling from place to place typically had two options:  Walk or ride an animal.  The likelihood of doing severe harm to others by either mode of transport was low.  Once we developed the technology to travel upwards of 100 miles per hour whilst encased in a couple tons of metal, however, the equation changed.  So, no, I don’t need to know “whom” is on the road with me. But I’d like to have some confidence that they know the basic rules and can read the signs.

FILED UNDER: Science & Technology, US Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. ALP says:

    I agree with you James! Is it also oppressive to require Doctors, Nurses, Engineers and many others in fields that require a certain level of training and licenses to insure that they meet the
    standards to provide their services. Remember in the time of horse and buggy none of these field required licensing!

  2. jpe says:

    If he wants to construct private roads and let anyone he wants to drive on them, he’s free to do so. Public roads….not so much.

  3. I don’t have a problem requiring even a basic competence in order to be allowed to drive a vehicle that can kill others.

    I DO have a problem with said license being used as a de-facto national ID, like what has happened since. Drivers licenses and social security cards have become our papers, and it’s never made me comfortable in the slightest.

  4. RobbieC says:

    And beyond knowing that the people I’m sharing a road with understand the rules of the road and can read & interpret the road sings — in the chance that one of them hits me and/or my car, I’d like to know with a degree of certainty 1) who they are, and 2) where to find them.

    Those two things are made easier with a valid form of identification — you know, like a driver’s license.

  5. sam says:

    How come every time something like this comes up, and we see a picture of the guy, I think of Al Capp?