A Shot across the Bow for Older Vehicles

One way to avoid having Big Brother riding shotgun is to buy a ride built before Big Brother came with the car or the truck.

It has been legal since the dawn of the automobile age to buy a vehicle made before the advent of air bags, back-up cameras, driver “assistance” technology and all the rest of it—and drive it on public roads.

The roads the public paid for.

Colorado just made it illegal in principle.

The principle comes in the form of a new law (SB19-054) recently passed by the Colorado state legislature, which originally was meant to make it legal for Colorado residents to register, plate and drive older military vehicles (e.g., surplus Humvees, cargo trucks, Jeeps and so on) on public roads, just like any other car.

Unfortunately, the bill was amended after it was introduced using a procedure called “strike and replace.” The version that was passed into law restricts such vehicles to off-road use only.

Effectively rendering them useless to their owners.

The precedent this establishes could become the practice whereby we’re forced out of older vehicles that aren’t “compliant” with the latest safety and emissions regulations, including the new “emissions” regs, in order to anathematize all internal combustion engines and force us all something else.

It is unclear whether the measure applies only to vehicles purchased after the bill became law with vehicles tagged and plated prior to the law’s passage “grandfathered” into continued on-road legality.

That has been the general practice for generations, not just in Colorado but nationally. It is why it’s still legal—at least, for now—to drive a 1970 car that doesn’t have all the equipment mandated since 1970 and thereby avoid all that extras many of us don’t want on our vehicles.

But that could change and this legislation is the first confirmed and officialized shot across the bow.

There is a provision that appears to be some kind of exemption with the new law stating:

“These changes do not apply to military vehicles that are valued for historical purposes.”

Italics added.

It is unclear, because the law’s text provides no definition as to what, exactly, constitutes a vehicle that is “valued” for “historic” purposes—nor who gets to decide what that means.

What’s clear is that it will be the government’s whim that determines which vehicles are “valued.”

This is the equivalent to the practice, in the old Soviet Union, of granting dachas (i.e., private homes rather than communal apartments) and other perks to “valuable” citizens so long as the government considered them “valuable,” of course.

Thus, even the people allowed to continue driving their “historic” vehicles on public roads for now do so with the not-so-thinly-veiled understanding that the privilege is revocable at any time.

This serves the complementary purpose of making anyone considering the purchase of a surplus Humvee or deuce-and-a-quarter to think twice before they actually do purchase it, since it’s risky to buy a vehicle the government may at any time decree can no longer leave the driveway (legally) after you buy it.

But the most dangerous aspect is the precedent this sets, which could certainly be interpreted to apply to all vehicles not “compliant” with federal safety and emissions regulations.

Not just surplus military vehicles. This could set a precedent and make it easier in the future to outlaw all vehicles, not considered compliant with safety and emissions regs, off of public roadways.

This is critically important to understand because this is how the law works—case law, as the lawyers style it. What that means is the laws on the books, which create the precedents for deciding the legality of future laws.

The legal reason we are required to submit to a groping by a government goon in order to travel by airplane today is that the precedent for treating people as presumptive “terrorists” was established decades earlier when it became legal to treat every driver who happened to be traveling a given road as a presumptive “drunk” driver obliged to prove to the satisfaction of a government goon they were not “drunk” without any obligation on the part of the government to establish grounds for suspecting them of being “drunk.”

The government will have to do something about all those older vehicles which people are still free to buy and drive in order to avoid having to buy a new vehicle with all the very latest government-mandated equipment.

Let’s face it—People are buying fewer new cars.

The reasons are economic, functional, and personal. Some simply can’t afford a new car anymore. All the safety regs has driven the price of a family sedan to half or more the average family’s annual income—not counting all the peripheral taxes and insurance costs piled on.

Others don’t want one because they don’t like the technology being pushed on them. Most new cars come standard with multiple “assists,” such as Lane Keep Assist and Automated Brake Assist, Parking Assist as well as noxious “features” such as Automated Stop/Start (ASS) facial recognition tech and in-car microphones, even (i.e., Google Alexa).

This is despite little market demand for these things. The object seems to be to get people used to this type of auto technology—whether they like it or not.

Not buying the new cars is a “problem” for those determined to nudge us into cars that do have all of that.

And that is a “problem” that can best be addressed by regulating prohibitions on the on-road use of older alternatives.

That’s just what Colorado has just done in principle.

And by doing it, set the precedent for more of the same, outside of Colorado.

Curiously, but not surprisingly, there are no restrictions on government use of surplus military vehicles—including armored MRAPS and such.

The better to Hut! Hut! Hut! us with—including those of us who “cling” to our surplus military vehicles.



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One Response to “A Shot across the Bow for Older Vehicles”

  1. Douglas Willinger says:

    How about those E-15 decals stating it’s illegal to use such fuels in vehicles model year 2000 and earlier?

    Take that together with the EPA’s non interest in having people modify older cars for higher ethanol content fuels.