At the DMV

Today the younger daughter takes the test for her Pennsylvania driver’s license.

This could take a while. But then it could be much, much worse.

One of the good things about growing up in New Jersey is that after experiencing the Garden State’s DMV, dealing with PennDOT almost seems pleasant.

The DMV — just a small part of the high cost of too-low taxes.

Update: Triumph! Success! Passage! I am now the parent of two licensed organ donors.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are there really people who claim that money isn’t real paper?

    Uh, yeah, that’d be anybody who knows what money’s made of. Coins are metal and electronic money is digital, of course, and bills are made of cotton and linen fiber. So is some paper, admittedly, but most paper is wood fiber, which survives water poorly. People do insist on going out in the rain while they have money in their pocket, and people do forget their pocket contains money when they go to launder the bepocketed clothing, and various other things that bring bills in contact with water.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I have been educated. 

    Thanks for taking the time to explain. And thanks to Ross, as well. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I thought it was printed on cotton paper. O.o

  • We Must Dissent

     Most paper (these days) may be mostly wood fiber, but does that mean that if it’s not mostly wood cellulose that it’s not paper? I thought wood pulp was a relatively new source of cellulose to make paper.

  • Albanaeon

     I had someone run off with the entire plate.  They were kind enough to replace it though… one from the truck they had just stolen.

    Fortunately I noticed this early and called it in.  Considering that it took 15 minutes to convince the cop who showed up I wasn’t calling in stolen plates on the truck I was stealing, I have hated to see what would have happened if I had been pulled over.

  • Albanaeon

    Colorado allows you to renew plates online which has considerably lessened stress and hassle for everyone involved.

    Speaking of which, I need to renew my Driver License this year.  It really doesn’t seem that long ago.

  • stardreamer42

    Texas does it by birth date. But your license is good for 6 years, and you can renew it once online before you have to have another photo taken, so you only have to go stand in line once every 12 years.

    Side note 1: the lines in all the major cities are appalling. But if you can drive 45 minutes to a location in an outlying area, you can generally waltz right in and out and still be home earlier than you would from the local office. We live near downtown Houston, and generally get our renewals in Huntsville or Tomball.

    Side note 2: sometime in the last few years, Texas has started demanding that you take your glasses off for your photo — even if your license specifies “corrective lenses” and anyone who has occasion to look at your license IS going to see them on you! This is stupid. I thought school photographers were the only ones who pulled that shit.

  • stardreamer42

    Oops! I misread Andrea’s post as talking about Driver’s License renewal, not vehicle registration.

    Texas vehicle registration is 12 months from the date of last renewal. This is independent from the vehicle inspection renewal, which is 12 months from the date of last inspection. Oh, and instead of having a limited number of inspection stations, any auto shop that can pass the certification and buy the equipment can do your inspection, so there are almost never lines for that.

    Tennessee (where I lived for 26 years) does inspection and registration renewal at the same time, and you have to have your new inspection certificate to get your new registration, but it’s still on a “12 months from the last one” cycle. Which means that smart people get theirs done early in the month, because the lines at both the inspection stations and the registration offices are just awful during the last week of the month.

  • stardreamer42

     I look for one where I can go in nose-first and then adjust if at all possible. I used to be a lot better at parallel parking when I was driving a subcompact than I am now when I’m driving a minivan with the Wheelbase From Hell. I will not even attempt to parallel-park the BHV (Dodge Ram 1-ton extended-wheelbase cargo van).

  • SisterCoyote

    Awesome! Congratulations… yes, Slackti-youngster works. Congratulations!

    I did alright on the first driving exam, right up to the K-turn. And then my mind went utterly, completely blank. He clarified it as a 3-point turn, and the idea refused to resolve itself into anything sensible. (The second one went better, fatherly dismay at the organ donor choice notwithstanding.)

  • P J Evans

     Well, TXDot doesn’t believe in one-way roads much, except around Big Cities,even if people are getting killed trying to get on and off the interstate. Inside cities, you might find one-way streets – they can make driving more interesting than you want. That’s why I tend to avoid driving in downtown areas. (One day last month, I saw a guy start to turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. He got even less far than most – there was a motorcycle officer right at that intersection.)

  • P J Evans

     Actually, paper money is high-quality paper (cotton or linen fiber with silk threads), and it goes through the wash pretty well – it will fade some, is all.

  • reynard61

    “(…S)ometime in the last few years, Texas has started demanding that you take your glasses off for your photo — even if your license specifies ‘corrective lenses’ and anyone who has occasion to look at your license IS going to see them on you! This is stupid. I thought school photographers were the only ones who pulled that shit.”

    This is done in Indiana too. It’s to comply with the REAL ID Act that was passed in the wake of 9/11. Ostensibly it’s to keep “terr’ists” from being able to get genuine Amurkin (FUCK YEAH!!!) IDs with which to fool around with our Precious Bodily Fluids, or some such. So the “geniuses” in Dubya’s Administration decided that all compliant ID photos would now have to be taken with glasses off — despite the fact that pretty much *all* facial recognition software these days is designed to either take glasses into account.

  • Daniel Martin

    The NJ MVC is actually pretty good now.

    I used to say that McGreevey got two things done before his administration blew up in a sex scandal. I’ve forgotten what one of them was, but the other one was fixing the DMV. He really did – even with the ridiculous number of proofs of ID you now need to get or renew an NJ license, it’s pretty straightforward and easy to deal with.

  • The_L1985

     …It’s not pronounced “Neh-VAH-duh?”

  • The_L1985

    FL does the former; AL does the latter.  This made moving from the latter to the former deeply weird to me.  All the registration renewal forms used to go to my parents’ house at the same time; now each person has to wait until his/her birthday.  Last name made things so convenient for so long….

  • The_L1985

     I have never parallel-parked on a road that already had cars on it.  I’m too chicken to try to do it in front of another car.  Or behind one.

  • The_L1985

     Who even gets paper bills anymore?  I haven’t gotten either bill in paper form since 2008!

  • The_L1985

     I constantly over-estimate the size of my compact car.  This makes me incredibly paranoid about scraping other cars, even if I actually have 18 in of space.

    Parallel-parking drives me absolutely bonkers for pretty much this reason.  I always feel like I’m going to hit somebody and not know it, because I have trouble telling where my car actually ends.

  • Andrea

    I moved from one state to another at the same time that I got married, and not knowing whether they will prorate the fees when I do a name change (it’ll be quite  large change in registration date) is actually one of the main reasons I haven’t gone to the effort of changing my name. (Someone brought up earlier how it seems weird to go by birth date since the car might not be first registered at that time, but at least birth dates can’t change.)

    Proving I lived here was fun too; “everyone gets mail” insisted the BMV worker, but there were no utility bills in my name and I didn’t have a credit card.

  • EllieMurasaki

    sometime in the last few years, Texas has started demanding that you take your glasses off for your photo — even if your license specifies “corrective lenses” and anyone who has occasion to look at your license IS going to see them on you!

    Delaware too. What I was told is that the DMV expects that some corrective lenses are contacts.

    I need my license renewed in just about a year, and I do plan on going to stand in line; that way I get a card that doesn’t have a brightly colored block saying I’m going to be twenty-one in negative some years.

  • GDwarf

    Ontario’s equivalent of the DMV got privatized a few years back. It went from being a fairly-good service to a complete and utter horror. They took their decades-ahead-of-its-time website down and replaced it with one that doesn’t work with anything but Internet Explorer. It says it works, but then hangs on charging your credit card. It’s also roughly as navigable as a hedge maze at midnight during a monsoon.

    And don’t get me started on the actual physical buildings. They closed half of them, and the only local one they kept open you need a car to get to, since it’s far from all bus routes. Yeah. If you show up, even for an appointment, you’ll be waiting at least half an hour because they have roughly three staff members total and don’t believe in sorting people by how much time they’ll take (one counter just for people who only need a minute would speed the whole thing up immensely). They deny that they’ve instituted quotas, but apparently they actually have, so whether you pass or fail depends, at least in part, on how many other people your tester has passed or failed today. Oh, and they have roughly 1/10th the number of seats they need and, ironically, nowhere near enough parking spaces.

    Then there were the strikes, layoffs, and all sorts of staffing problems caused by the private company refusing to pay its workers more than minimum wage…The whole thing is a hideous nightmare. But it must be good, because it’s privatized!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah. I’ve accidentally washed my wallet with 1990s-era Canadian dollar bills in it. The money came out remarkably intact.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Now I’m even more thankful that the guy the BC Liberals brough in to run ICBC decided he liked things so much he argued against privatizing it.

  • ReverendRef

     What is it with that?  Assuming you know the “correct” way to spell a person’s name when it’s presented to you . . . ish.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    San Francisco seems to split evenly between one-way and two-way streets, which wouldn’t be a problem except that if you’re in an unfamiliar area at night, those sodium lights make it really hard to tell if the center lane is yellow or white.  “One way” sign? What’s that?

  • P J Evans

    The best suggestion I can give you about driving in SF is ‘don’t’.
    (“Where are you?” “I’m at the corner of Market, Do Not Enter, and Do Not Enter”. Really. I was trying to figure out where I was, and that was what the overhead signs said. I was walking.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     > The best suggestion I can give you about driving in SF is ‘don’t’.

    This.

    My “favorite” driving-in-SF moment was when I tried to follow a road on my map, only to discover that it stopped short and turned into a flight of stairs before continuing on as a road a few hundred feet further along.

  • Boidster

    We have a street here in Omaha with 6 lanes – 2 in one direction, 2 in a different direction, and one in the middle that changes direction depending on time of day. This was a surprise the first time I drove on it after moving here.  For the morning rush, it goes in the direction of downtown. After the rush, it switches to the other direction. Lights overhead will have a red “X” if the lane is coming at you and a green down-arrow if it’s going your way.

    As an added bonus, it has a couple of hills, making the “is there a confused driver coming the other way” game especially exciting. I don’t know about morning rush since I don’t take that street, but occasionally after work I’ll go that way and most people seem to be afraid to use the center lane. It’s always the fastest lane heading out of town – until there’s a confused driver coming the other way, I suppose.

    The icing on the cake is that the lane – which is marked by broken double-yellow lines on both sides – sort of looks like a turn lane (“chicken lane” we always called them), but both sides of the street in both directions are clearly labeled with “No Left Turn” signs at every intersection. Nevertheless, about 30% of the time I use that street, someone is stopped in the lane, waiting to turn left – sometimes going the opposite direction of the designated flow for the lane at that time of day. I’m not usually much of a honker, but that situation gets me honking.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    We have a street here in Omaha with 6 lanes – 2 in one direction, 2 in a different direction, and one in the middle that changes direction depending on time of day.
    This was a surprise the first time I drove on it after moving here. 
    For the morning rush, it goes in the direction of downtown. After the
    rush, it switches to the other direction. Lights overhead will have a
    red “X” if the traffic is coming at you and a green down-arrow if it’s
    going your way.

    We’ve got that in Vancouver as well, especially on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     I know it’s a tremendous inconvenience for my parents, as now my dad has to take an extra day off to take my mother in to have her license renewed, since she doesn’t drive and their birthdays are more than a month apart.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     The time my plate got stolen, I found out from my father, when the city police called him and asked if he’d like them to fedex the recovered plate to him (I was in college so the car was still in his name). They’d apparently found it while raiding a chop shop, and since it was a long weekend, I hadn’t been back to the car since before it’d been taken.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X