From the Right



Should Government Track the Miles You Drive?

Terence P. Jeffrey on

Ultimately, this would require tracking the miles driven by every car. The commission conceded this would raise what it called "privacy concerns."

"There is a very real concern among policy makers and the general public that a road pricing system that charges based on when and where individuals travel inherently threatens privacy," said its report. "Indeed, if these systems are not designed and implemented properly, the threat to privacy could be very real. This leads to two significant challenges that must be overcome if comprehensive pricing is to be seriously considered in the United States: first, any system must ensure adequate safeguards to personal privacy; second, the public agency or agencies charged with implementing comprehensive pricing must gain the confidence of policy makers and the public that these safeguards exist and will be effective."

Bottom line: You would need to trust Buttigieg's bureaucracy -- or some entity acting on the government's behalf -- to put a tracker in your car.

The commission suggested that privacy could be protected if the satellite-tracked movements of an American's car were stored only in the car itself.

"Specifically, these designs center on the use of an on-board unit (one in each vehicle) that would contain a GPS receiver that receives satellite signals enabling it to calculate vehicle location in real time and a computer that calculates the associated VMT charge," said the report.


"The key point is that the satellite signal is only a one-way signal 'telling' the car receiver where it is, and therefore outside the vehicle there is no tracking of where individuals travel," said the report. "In essence, this receiving function of a VMT system would function like the GPS devices that millions of Americans have already installed in their cars without worry of privacy loss."

Then, perhaps, the government could have employers withhold the vehicle-miles-traveled tax from the paychecks of people who insist on driving to work -- instead of taking the subway to a saloon.


Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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