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Revenue official says ‘driver’ must have on-demand ‘proof of insurance’

Sydney Hamon is spokeswoman for the Chattanooga police department, which enforces the theory of the state revenue department that Tennessee a “before crash” state rather than an “after crash” state as concerns enforcement of the financial responsibility law for motorists. ({Photo Chattanooga police department)

Shawn Ploss, an official with the Tennessee department of revenue, tells traveling Tennessean Ed Soloe of Alcoa, Tenn., that “driving *** is not a constitutionally protected right,” and offers a misleading, off-point review of state law, upholding the legal presumption that no right of travel or communication exists, and that all travel is commercial.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio Network

True, driving is not a right. It is a privilege. It is a privilege for those who use the road as their principle place of business, using the people’s property for their own private gain and profit. That is done not by right, but by permission, court cases indicate. 

Mr. Ploss, overseer of the department’s financial responsibility section, is also dealing with me and my 2000 Honda Odyssey minivan I use on the people’s roads without insurance. I will be directing future correspondence with either the commissioner, David Gerregano, or department counsel. The department cannot obey the law and enforce “financial responsibility” prior to any crash.

Says Mr. Ploss to Mr. Soloe, “If a vehicle is in use we require proof of insurance to be provided. ” No authority exits in T.C.A. Title 55, chapter, 12, to allow him to make this claim.

‘Not a constitutionally protected right’

Driving on public roads is not a constitutionally protected right and to do so you must have a drivers license which requires tests and an agreement with the state and that in its self makes it not available to all U.S. Citizens and not a right. You are thinking of the constitutional right to travel freely “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.

The federal government allows each state to set it’s own laws and requirements for insurance and ours are about the same if not less than most all other states. In 2016 the James Lee Atwood Jr Law (55-12-201) was passed and why we are talking. If a vehicle is in use we require proof of insurance to be provided. All companies that sell insurance report to the state that the policy is sold in and if it fails to confirm for a VIN that has active plates you get a letter. If the vehicle isn’t in use you can update that information with us as well. You will receive a letter every 30 days until the plate is suspended unless a response is provided with insurance information or an updated to the vehicles current status. If the status is non-use then an affidavit will need to be completed and that is also located online. We look forward to helping you in anyway. 

Glenn Scruggs, Chattanooga police executive chief, admits the city enforces the law in contravention to the statute in this “after-crash” state. The city enforces “financial responsibility” as if travelers, motorists, drivers and operators in the private sector (noncarriers) must have insurance as if they were in the trucking trades.

“If a person is operating a motor vehicle (car, motorcycle, truck, etc) in Tennessee,” he says, “they are required to have insurance and proof of insurance (current insurance card, electronic proof, etc.).” Asked how the city enforces chapter 12 of Title 55, he says, “Chattanooga Police Department officers have the ability to issue a citation to a person for failing to have vehicle insurance.”

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