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No DMV Till 63
Old 08-19-2010, 06:13 PM   #1
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No DMV Till 63

Went to the Division of Motor Vechicles (DMV) to renew my driver's license today. What an ordeal. Over two hours waiting in line. This is typical in my neck of the woods.

In Virginia, a vision test is required when you reach 55. Even though I wear glasses, I managed to pass the vision test without them. Wierd how this seemed important to me.

Anyway, I passed and won't have to renew until 2018. I'll be 63 then. Dang.

A year later I'll be...

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Old 08-19-2010, 07:03 PM   #2
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Went to the Division of Motor Vechicles (DMV) to renew my driver's license today. What an ordeal. Over two hours waiting in line. This is typical in my neck of the woods.

In Virginia, a vision test is required when you reach 55. Even though I wear glasses, I managed to pass the vision test without them. Wierd how this seemed important to me.

Anyway, I passed and won't have to renew until 2018. I'll be 63 then. Dang.
The local DMV here changed there lay-out several years ago. We never have to stand in line more than a half hour before we get a number and a place to sit down. Then you may have to sit anywhere from half hour to several hours but at least you're not standing the whole time.

When you say vision test are you just talking about that thing you have to look into to test you peripheral vision and a couple other things and only takes 1 minute. We have to do that every 8 years no matter what age you are. Or is there a more intensive test for the older folks?
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:10 PM   #3
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Or is there a more intensive test for the older folks?
Nope. In these parts, us older folks just need to wait 2+ hours in line then look into the thingy and read the top line of letters. It's a combo vision and stamina test.
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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A little write up about my experience last year when attempting to renew my DL...

"Time to renew my driver's license. No problem in this day and age, eh - the State of Texas offers online renewal.

Not so fast. I put in my information and it says nope, I have to renew in person. No explanation as to why, just not gonna allow me to renew online. (I later learned it was the eye test thingy...)

There is one (1) DL office serving the entire city of San Antonio (I live a few miles outside the city in an adjoining county). Amazingly there is only one DL office serving the entire county - all two million+ residents. The place is a wait-in-line-forever bureaucratic nut house. No way am I going there.

The online site gives me several other locations in the area. The closest to me is 25 miles up the road in a small town (pop. 800) and the office is open only on Wednesdays from 9 to 4 (and closed for lunch!). I need to go by the vet to pick up some pills for the dogs and since his office is up that way, I figure I can run up there one morning and get both done. DW decides she wants to noodle around in a couple of old shops in the little town while I'm renewing my DL, so off we go.

I drop her off and start looking for the DL office. The address shows it to be a mile or so outside of town, and once I get there I find a county park of some sort and a handful of small buildings - no indication of any DL office. I had the office number and called to get directions. The lady who answered ("Driver's License Office, this is Beth") said sure, she'd be happy to give me directions but it would do me no good - she couldn't renew my license. I asked if the office was closed, and she said no, the computer she used to do the renewals was broken.

She offered to give me the location of the San Antonio DL office as well as a couple of others in surrounding counties. I said thanks, but maybe I'll just wait and come back when I can get it done here - do you think your computer will be up and running again next week?

She laughed and said she doubted it - since it had been broken for 11 months...

Yep, my tax dollars at work. No doubt the reason the computer hasn't been repaired is "we don't have the money". Yet they've been paying this gal to come into the office in this little town once a week for the last 11 months, just so she could tell folks she couldn't do what she was hired to do."
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:44 PM   #5
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There is one (1) DL office serving the entire city of San Antonio (I live a few miles outside the city in an adjoining county). Amazingly there is only one DL office serving the entire county - all two million+ residents. The place is a wait-in-line-forever bureaucratic nut house. No way am I going there.
Gee! You want faster service, cranky old man? You will need to fork out more money for taxes, you hear! Good service doesn't come cheap, good grief!
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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The adventure continued: Renewing my driver's license - Chapter 2

"The following week I drove 45 minutes to another TDL office, this one in a larger town and open 5 days a week. I had been told by a couple of folks that the office wasn't very busy when they'd been there and they'd never had to wait very long. Why do people lie to me?

I got there just before 11 AM, waded through a standing room only crowd to take a number (43). I found an empty chair and in the next 10 minutes the two state employees working in the office called #28 and #29. OK, I thought, not too bad. At this rate maybe I'll get through in an hour, maybe and hour and a half.

Things progressed relatively well for the next 20 minutes - until #31 was called. It was an elderly couple with their daughter, who I sure hope had driven them there. He was 85, using a walker, and his spouse wasn't far from that age. Both needed to renew their licenses, but had only used one number. They were 10 feet away and I could hear the entire conversation with the clerk...

His wife went first, but couldn't pass the eye test, with or without her glasses - she tried twice each way without success. The clerk, with minimal help from the daughter (she appeared to really be working hard at staying at arms length in this entire little drama), talked the lady into getting an ID card rather than a license, emphasizing she could always come back and try again after getting new glasses. Then it was his turn.

He passed the eye test with glasses, and wanted to take it again without them! He tried a couple of times and apparently did OK with his left eye, but not his right. Then his spouse spoke up saying his doctor had told him he didn't want him to drive any more. This kicked off a discussion between the clerk and the wife, with the daughter and husband looking on stoically. After going back & forth for 10 minutes or so, it was finally agreed that he would also get an ID card, not a new drivers license. After each of them struggled through the process of filling out ID application forms, getting photographs, electronic thumbprints and digital capture of signatures, the wife then had to write two separate checks to pay for the ID cards. Oh, and then after they were done and daughter helped dad out of the office, the wife spent another five minutes telling the clerk all about her efforts to keep her husband off the road.

While this 35+ minute session was transpiring, the other clerk had worked her way up to #33 as the DL office continued to fill with people. I didn't see the exact number but I do know the numbers topped out at 50 and I saw one person (not the last to enter) had started over again with a 4.

By this time I'd been there an hour and they'd processed a total of seven (7) people. Watching all of this, muttering under my breath and telling myself "hey, you're retired - nothing better to do - chill", I calculated that barring another special case like the old couple, I would be done in another hour. Right...

When the old couple left, the clerk looked at the clock and announced to her buddy that she was going to lunch. About that time, the other clerk finished up the guy she was helping. Instead of calling "34!" she announced "I'm going to help those who have courtesy slips now. I'll resume calling numbers a little later." It seems those who had come in previously and had not had all the necessary paperwork to complete their business were given courtesy slips so they would go to the front of the line when they returned with what they needed. There were at least two of them, probably more.

I threw in the towel and left.

I returned the following week, arriving before they opened. I was in and out in 15 minutes. "
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:59 PM   #7
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Again, not a problem that a little more tax money wouldn't solve.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:04 PM   #8
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It's hard to top your story of agony and suffering REWahoo. I can only add that during my comparatively brief ordeal I was stuck in line for over 15 minutes behind a guy with long, dirty hair who was cleaning his ears with q-tips. Majorly gross.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:12 PM   #9
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In some states (not mine, of course) you can go to Triple A to renew your license, including eye test.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:20 PM   #10
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I renewed my license earlier this summer. The 2 hours spent in the DMV passed quickly as I knew 4 people also waiting in line and was able to catch up on things. There were two lines. The first was a triage line of about 20 minutes. They make sure you have everything you need before you wait in the 100 minute line. It seemed just as efficient as 30 years ago.
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Old 08-19-2010, 08:22 PM   #11
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I also live in Texas and was dreading getting my drivers license renewed this year. Apparently every other time you renew you have to do it in person rather than online. Living in a county near Houston we have more than one office but not all that many. The one closest to my house was closed awhile back. So, after lunch, I decided to go to the one close to my office, telling my secretary that I might not be back for the rest of the day.

Imagine the surprise of all of us when I returned to work 30 minutes -- 20 minutes of the time had been the drive to and from. I had remembered long horrible waits at the office.

This time I went in and there was a pre-line where you told a guy why you were there. He looked to see if you all your paperwork and then routed you to the next line. If you didn't then he would send you away. I spent 5 minutes in that line, had all my papers and then he sent me to the renewal line which took another 5 minutes. One strange thing was that most of the building was a huge seating area in the middle of the large rooms with rows of chairs but hardly anyone was in them as most everyone was standing in one of the lines. The seating area was mostly for people accompanying someone standing in line, of which there were few.

A month or so later my son needed to go in for his learner's permit. So, of course, I took him to that office. It was mid-afternoon. This time we didn't have nearly as easy a process. It took an entire....20 minutes. Same wait in the pre-line but a little slower. The person checking records was a little bemused that my 16 year old son didn't have proof of high school registration. Instead, he had a high school diploma (you have to have one or the other if you are under 18).

Nonetheless she sent us on to the next line which was a little longer. When we got called, that went fine except it was clear the clerk didn't know what ADHD was. The drivers license app asks if the applicant has been treated or received medication for any psychiatric disorder within 2 years. The form asked a yes or no question. I had researched and found that some offices would tell anyone with a yes on there to get a note from a psychiatrist before the person could get a drivers licenses. Hoping to forestall that I checked yes, but wrote in ADHD (the form didn't ask what the disorder was but I hoped this would seem innocuous).

So the clerk read the form, stopped when she saw that, looked my son up and down and then asked what ADHD was. I told her what the letters stood for and she still looked blank. Then I said "hyperactive kid." Her face cleared up and she asked me if he had been on medication a long time. "Yes, since he was 6." Then she went ahead and processed his application.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:45 AM   #12
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This is one of the reasons we appreciate the West Virginia DMV so much. Well, for the most part.

For renewing a license we're generally in & out within 30 minutes. However the first time getting the license for DW was something of an ordeal. Since we were married in 1988 every government agency has accepted a photocopy of the original marriage certificate, signed by the minister, as proof that we were not living in sin.

Not WV. They had to have an "official" marriage certificate issued by the Maryland Department of Vital Statistics (or some such agency) with the official stamp on it.

We gave some thought to simply getting married again at the courthouse in WV as the easier way out, with all the attendant humor in that. "Dear, you'll have to take the pink curlers out of your hair for the wedding"... "Aw, do I hafta wear shoes?"... and such.

In the end we obtained the required document and DW was duly issued her WV license.
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:53 AM   #13
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The adventure continued: Renewing my driver's license - Chapter 2
REWahoo:

I've had good luck going to go to a DMV in a smaller town. Marble Falls was completely empty - didn't wait at all. I guess I hadn't run into the broken computer issue.

Renewals can be done up to 6 months in advance - this has helped me avoid crowded DMVs too.

I have to go in person for any address changes and renewals. This is because I have a Class B license, due to my heavy motorhome. In TX you have to sign an affidavit each time stating why you do not need a CDL, so you have to be there in person. It's a pain, as I've had 3 changes of address and 1 renewal in the last 5 years.

Audrey
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:16 AM   #14
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Why do US driving licences expire so often? In the UK they're valid until you're 70 or 75 or something. My French licence has no expiry date on it - I had to make one up to check in online for a rental car the other day. When I had a Dutch licence, I had to renew it every 10 years, and that was basically a way to /a/ update the photo and /b/ take $25 off me.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:20 AM   #15
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REWahoo:

I've had good luck going to go to a DMV in a smaller town.
Audrey, both the 'adventures' I describe took place in small towns...
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:21 AM   #16
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Why do US driving licences expire so often?

...basically a way to /a/ update the photo and /b/ take $25 off me.
Bingo!
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:28 AM   #17
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Audrey, both the 'adventures' I describe took place in small towns...
Yeah, I see that. I guess I've just been lucky. Kerrville was pretty crowded and slow, but that was 1 out of 4 recently for me.

I wonder if they've cut down on the number of offices. I remember in Austin that we had one way on the north side that was near my house, while the main one was closer to downtown. The north one was busy, but the wait was never that long.

I dreaded the recent DMV visit because I had to go to downtown McAllen (not one closer), and of course I ended up going mid-day and of course it was very busy and I did have to wait. But they were so very organized, that I didn't mind. It's probably the most organized TX DMV I have ever been in. They had kind of a "preprocessing" desk with two people who made sure each person got the right forms and had all the correct ID. Then when you filled out the paperwork, you returned there, they checked it, and then gave you a number to wait to be called for the actual picture taking fingerprints, etc. part. It ran very, very smoothly, and you could sit down while you waited to be called.

Audrey
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:37 AM   #18
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Why do US driving licences expire so often? In the UK they're valid until you're 70 or 75 or something. My French licence has no expiry date on it - I had to make one up to check in online for a rental car the other day. When I had a Dutch licence, I had to renew it every 10 years, and that was basically a way to /a/ update the photo and /b/ take $25 off me.
Americans demand it because the renewal process is so pleasurable.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:48 AM   #19
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In Maine, after a certain age you have to pass a peripheral vison test. This takes many older drivers off the streets in Maine. As we age our peripheral vision just naturally disappears.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:52 AM   #20
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Why do US driving licences expire so often? In the UK they're valid until you're 70 or 75 or something. My French licence has no expiry date on it - I had to make one up to check in online for a rental car the other day. When I had a Dutch licence, I had to renew it every 10 years, and that was basically a way to /a/ update the photo and /b/ take $25 off me.
Its called "Taxation by Unregulated Government Agency". Its just another way to increase government control over the population and income. Hard to believe that the country was founded 234 years years ago on no taxes. And people think this is a free country; its a toll road country. Gotta do something for money if you want to stick your military nose in everyone's business.
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