This is a very dangerous train of thought that could lead to totalitarian control of people’s ability to drive. Let me explain.
If we were to punish people for having to drive far to work, we have several things we need to define. First, what is “far”? Is it over 100 miles, over 50, over 20, over 5? Second, what should be included in “drive to work”? Should it include motorcycles, which technically would be “riding to work”? What about truckers, should there be an exception made for them? Third, what should the punishment be? Since driving is something most people do, and everyone needs to work, this has the potential to effect a huge number of people. Also, the worker has little control over where the jobs area and where they can afford rent, this means we would often be punishing people for factors outside their control.
Taken together, this would be an unjust law, that would place an unconstitutional burden on citizens. It would also open up the area of driving rights to complete control.
In my opinion, people who drive to work over a long distance pay the price themselves through gas and time! I live less than a mile from my work, however if I move 20 miles away I could save $200 on rent. With any decision, a person’s choice on the distance between work and home varies for different economic situations. I would rather pay an extra $200 for rent, knowing I’d break even by living far away and having to pay more for gas and time. I don’t think any laws should be established to prevent this, for it’s an individual choice.
Littlegreenbear makes a very good point. People who commute long distances to work often times don’t have any option but to be a commuter, especially in metropolitan areas where rent/housing is more expensive. These people save on cost of living expenses by living outside of a city, but are punished by having to pay more for gas. A good solution is carpooling, which is a fairly common practice among commuters.
Any law regulating people driving long distances to work would be incredibly hard to put into affect as it is. Take San Francisco for example–it’s population is around 750,000, but per day, they get over a quarter million commuters. That’s a lot of people to regulate…
I think it would be incredibly unfair to those who drive far to work to punish them for doing so. Most people commute because they cannot live closer, whether by financial or personal reasons. Such a punishment is technically illegal under the 8th Amendment (protection from cruel and unusual punishment), and walks a very dangerous line of projecting prejudice and segregation. Also, what is the alternative? Tell people to move closer to work or go to jail? Such a punishment would infringe on too many liberties to be considered practical. Encouragement and incentive would be better alternatives to this, like tax credits or rebates. I do not think it is a question of the number of “offenders” it would create so much as the principle of it.
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