There’s no question that the automotive industry has made some considerable changes in recent years. While usually, these are related to technological innovation and bold new designs that many look forward to every year, a landmark ruling from the highest court in the land has shifted the paradigm throughout the entire industry and made ownership more exclusive than ever before. In a landslide decision, the supreme court ruled that women no longer have the right to own or drive cars. This legislation, which Justice Clarence Thomas first proposed in the early 1990s, got traction when it finally found an ally in Justice Bret Kavanaugh. The reaction has been swift, as one Karen Capshaw, mother of two, had plans to test drive the 2023 Chevy Trailblazer when it was released to dealerships.
Capshaw was very candid about her discontent. “A bunch of old men who have no idea about the plight of getting to JC Penny before it closes after a stressful session of Jazzercise.” While Capshaw’s outrage is visible, many of the bill’s supporters have been just as vocal about their delight over the Supreme Court’s ruling. “Do you know what kind of world it will be now that we’ve eradicated the ever-present threat of female drivers from the road? No longer will we have to worry about a multi-car pileup because someone was putting their makeup on in the rearview mirror.”
While separating the complex legal terminology from the bill and placing it into standard terms that are understandable is never easy, we had our legal eagle, Vinnie Litecheskowitz, examine the bill to decipher what it means for the future of a woman’s right (or lack thereof) behind the wheel. Essentially, the bill comprises four sections, all of which have been broken down.
- Effective immediately, a woman’s right to own or operate a motorized vehicle is strictly prohibited. However, some states can choose to honor their pre-existing right.
- The “Directions Clause” was tacked onto the bill, in which a woman can no longer force her husband to stop and ask for directions. While Justice Thomas wanted this clause also to state that a woman must know where she wants to eat before entering a vehicle, this was ultimately removed.
- All licenses are revoked in the states that don’t have pre-existing protection for a woman’s right to drive. To compensate those who have had their driving privileges made null and void, a $50 gift card for Bed, Bath, and Beyond will be sent out when a license is returned to the DMV.
- The “Accident Accountability Clause” dictates that while some states have protections, this effectively overrides many state statutes. Quite possibly one of the most controversial aspects of the recent ruling, this clause effectively makes any accident or collision the women’s fault with no exceptions. Here’s a brief excerpt from the legislation that explains the clause further. “In the event of an accident, collision, or any other occurrence in which a vehicle, person, or stationary landmark is damaged, full responsibility shall fall upon the female, regardless if she was operating the vehicle or was simply in the company of the operator.”
The passing of the legislation has several women’s groups up in arms, not to mention many mechanics. It’s been an unspoken rule that many service departments maintain their profit margins by overcharging their female clients slightly more because they don’t know much about vehicles. With the female driving demographic eliminated, it’s expected that the auto repair industry will suffer a record low in business. An estimated third of independently owned shops will be forced to declare bankruptcy by the end of the new fiscal year.