DMV Experiences

People like to rag on the DMV but to tell the truth, the DMV here in California (at least the offices I’ve been to in the past 40 years) are all pretty efficient and professional. The clients can be a hoot, no question about that, though.

My wife did get upset while getting her ID renewed a while ago because the digital signature device was not working properly at all, and the woman behind the counter would not allow my wife to skip the process. My wife got very upset and I was afraid she’d get kicked out. In the end I encouraged her to just press down with the pen on the malfunctioning device and we left. A couple of weeks later, when she got her ID in the mail she was disgusted to find her signature on it was basically reduced to an illegible squiggle by the malfunctioning DMV digital reader, when in fact her real handwriting and signature are quite clear.

This didn’t happen to me, but a friend.

“Donna” had been in Alaska for three and a half years. Her husband was in the US Air Force.

After Alaska he got sent to San Antonio. So when Donna went to the DMV to get a Texas license she was told by the clerk about all the paperwork she’d have to fill out, the driving tests and written tests, and so on. When she asked why the process was so long and complicated the clerk told her “We don’t accept licenses from foreign countries with it.” Huh??? The clerk would not believe Alaska was a US state. Her supervisor had to be called, and even that worthy seemed suspicious about Alaska’s status, but didn’t want a hassle, so Donna just got her license with the usual lesser paperwork.

Please tell me this was at least 50 years ago!!

I don’t have any amusing DMV stories. When I moved here, to California, a few years ago, I went to get my license since I’d let it lapse in Virginia. (I didn’t own a car, didn’t want to pay insurance when I was not going to be driving, so I just didn’t get a license there.) Anyway, the eye test was problematic, as apparantly the vision in my left eye is basically…useless. There’s no way I can read that with my left eye. So…I just spread my fingers a little on the hand blocking my right eye. I am not quite sure if the lady there thought it was a joke, or wasn’t sure what she saw, but I kept a straight face and got my license. Which is good, as I’ve never had an accident or any kind of problems; I just have a cataract in my left eye, apparantly.

Had to change my address a couple years ago and amused myself while standing in line by taking a picture of the nasty feet belonging to the guy ahead of me and posting them on facebook. They were really nasty feet and he should have been punished for wearing sandals. My whole visit took about 15 minutes. I’m debating on whether to renew in person this August or do the mail-in thing. My trip downtown will take longer than the visit in the “secret” express facility will take, and my current picture is fab, so I’m thinking mail and skip the adventure this time.

We have to go to the DMV in the next few weeks as my husband’s age has rolled over to renewal time.

Anytime you have to go anywhere that requires waiting in line involves hurry-up-and-wait and freaky people.

The 2nd to last time we were there we learned that everybody hoped they’d get “the dyke.” (“Sharp” describes her; hair shaved on the sides, spiky short on top. Tats creeping out from under her collar. Large breasts, contained.) She’s also the funniest, nicest, go-with-it person behind the counter (who also gives driving tests.) She looks like a prison guard but is everybody’s mama.

I hope we get her.

Nope, it would have been about ten years ago. Alaska would have been a state for about forty years, at least.

Texas is just mad that they’re not the biggest state anymore.

When I moved here, I did have a bunch of hassle to get my new license (Proof of residence [a utility bill], which I had to wait a month to actually get one; proof of insurance; etc.). And for a city of more than a million (San Antonio), they have very few DMVs (I think 4 for the whole Bexar Co.). And after all of that, I was just handed a receipt that was my de facto license until they mailed me my normal one.

Makes me long for Virginia…

My new license is a paper scan, has my picture and kinda looks real but it is a standard piece of printer paper, not exactly convenient :smack:
Got to keep my old DL they cut the corner off


I agree.

I wrote a long description of my first California DMV experience in this thread. I was there for quite a while, but everyone was, as you say, efficient and professional. It was a perfectly civilized experience.

I just renewed my driver’s license this week. Took maybe 10 minutes. I showed the receptionist my required ID materials, she told me which window to go to. The person at the window took my check and asked me if I wanted to use the same digital photo. I did. About 5 minutes later she called my name, I took my new license and left.

There was a time in NJ when any DMV task was a nightmare, but some years back some absolute genius in Trenton totally revamped the whole thing.

I saw a group of Amish people at my DMV once, which was a very confusing experience.

When you say buxom, are you talking about the good kind or the bad kind?

Back in the 70s and 80s, going to the DMV in California was always a nightmare. No matter what you were there for, you could expect to be there for hours.

But some time ago they started offering appointments online, and since then it’s always been quick and efficient.

And even more so, that many routine actions can be done my mail now, including license renewals.

Car registration: Needs to be done annually. They mail out the paperwork well in advance – something like 10 weeks – and promise that, when you send it back in (with your money of course) that you will get your new reg in 8 weeks or so – but it always seems to come back much faster than that, like 3 weeks or less.

Driver license renewal: A license lasts 3 to 5 years (depending on drivers age and record, I think), and can be renewed by mail several times in a row before you have to go in person to do it. As with car registration, the mail-order process is equally very efficient.

And for those times when you absolutely have to go in person: I’ve never messed with appointments. Instead, I drive out of the Big Town to some nearby outlying Little Town, where the DMV is commonly in a small office, with one or two clerks, and some very small number of “customers” there at any one time. (Like, about 10 customer, max, at any one time, in one small town.)

I went to the Washington, D.C. DMV a few years ago out in the NE section of the city. I had to get a new driver’s license. The place was clean, orderly, and well-run. I got there midday and had to wait around 45 minutes. The clerk who waited on me was polite and efficient, and I was out of the place in around 10 minutes after first walking up to her station.

What the hell is wrong with D.C? No trannys, nipples, or smells and odors. They’ve got to get their act together down there. They’re giving DMVs across the country a bad name!

The first time I lived in Florida, back in 1966, I had to wait to get a Florida license because the guy ahead of me couldn’t read and was entitled to a verbal exam. That memory always saddens me for some reason. The guy passed, though.

I once saw “Mac” from Night Court at the DMV. That’s the most exciting DMV story I have. His boob didn’t fall out or anything, though.

We don’t have DMVs in Merrylande - we have the MVA, plus you can go to Title Service Agents who will charge a fee, but you theoretically avoid lines and hassles. There’s an MVA office 3 or 4 miles from our house, and I’ve gone there several times for different things, and the wait has always been minimal. Plus they have a check-in desk where you get funneled to the correct window, whether you’re there for a plate, a driving test, a renewal, or an insurance issue. Easy-peasy!

My visits there have been so brief, alas, I’ve never encountered anything colorful. If you put this into mapquest: Maryland Mva, 27351 Point Lookout Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650 - and look just on the north side of the property, you’ll see a large paved rectangular lot with hash-marked areas at each end. That’s the driving test track. You don’t go out on the road - there are places on the track with assorted signage, parallel parking, three-point-turn, and probably other things I’ve forgotten since it’s been 40+ years since I took my test. Even back then, they gave us a detailed chart of the track so we knew exactly what we had to do where. I never understood how people still managed to fail their driving tests…

We don’t have DMV’s either here in Illinois - we have the Secretary of State. And oddly, while they were HORRIBLE a few years ago, when I went in with my son for him to take his test for his first license, it was really fast. Ditto with when I went with husband to get his ID, and when I had to renew my license. They’re really getting better! When I have to get my emissions test for my car (every two license plate cycles or something) I go to the small testing station nearby and am in and out lickely split. For license plates, currency exchange. Last time (a month ago) for my plates it took all of 4 minutes.

I can’t believe I have nothing to bitch about when it comes to stuff like DL’s, and license plates and stuff. Hmm. Odd, ain’t it?

Our Albany DMV is actually not bad, it’s just the one everyone goes to. They have a good system but it still takes a while. Depends on what you have to have done. If it’s something routine, it’s quick. But if you are going for something only one person knows how to do, much longer.