Temporary Driver's License

On TV shows you always see the character taking the test, then the DMV clerk always says something like “Here’s your temporary license, we’ll mail you one in a week.”

I don’t think anyone does that anymore do they? If not when did they stop doing that. I know in Illinois in 1974, I recall going with my fater and he got a temporary license. They didn’t have picture licenses back then.

Texas does it, at least it did a few years ago when I had to go in to get my license renewed. I went in, stood in line, had my eyes tested, got my pic taken, got my fingerprints digitally recorded (HAH!), gave an electronic signature, and paid my money. I received a slip of paper with the info on it, and was told to expect my real license in the mail.

In both Washington and Montana I got a little black and white print out copy of my license and the real one comes in some weeks. Does your state really have the license making machine in every DMV location?

I’ve never been to a DMV in Illinois that doesn’t. I’ve been to quite a few of them.

The cool thing is when I lost mine, I didn’t even have to get my photo retaken. They had my pic on file and they just reprinted it.

Georgia does not do that: they produce the permanent license while you are in the DMV and hand it to you. California does that: they give you a temporary license and mail you the permanent one. Since most TV seems produced in California, maybe that is their standard knowledge :slight_smile:

Yep, here in California you just get a piece of paper for the first week or so, then your regular license arrives in the mail.

I don’t know if the issue is cost, but i was actually quite surprised that they didn’t have the technology to produce a permanent license right there in the DMV office.

New York gives you a temporary license.

Kentucky gives you your permanent one while you wait.

My last renewal, I got a temporary. Then when I moved here to Vermont, and I had to visit the DMV’s mobile unit, they printed me up a real one while I waited.

Indeed, there is a movement afoot among states to stop issuing licenses on the spot. For one thing, it’s uneconomical. For another, it has some security issues involved.

South Carolina and Ohio both produce them on the spot, btw.

Hard to see why. Printers and laminating machines are pretty cheap these days. It seems rather efficient to get the whole thing done in 5 minutes, with no follow-on work needed.

“Well, you sure don’t look 25, but your unlaminated, out-of-state
driver’s license is proof enough for me.”
– Dispatcher at a courier service to Bart, “Bart on the Road”

California does and it even has your photo on it.

I renewed my license here in Alberta recently. I received a paper temporary license on the spot, and the official one with photo and whatnot arrived through the mail within a week. So we can add Alberta to the list of places that still do it this way.

Florida does.

All you need is a webcam, PC and a printer.

But these days there’s more to it than just printing and laminating; more and more frequently, licenses are getting coded magnetic strips on 'em. Not to mention that there are other anti-fraud mechanisms in there, stuff that’s hard to do at each and every DMV office. It’s more like creating a credit card than laminating a picture onto a piece of paper.

How is it less secure to issue a license on the spot?

ETA: Nevermind, the question was answered while I was typing…

Missouri issues them on the spot. Heavy plastic with a picture and holographic seal. Takes about 8 minutes.

Well, the folks at my local DMV office seem rather ordinary, but (once you have waited your turn) they manage to produce a laminated picture license with magnetic strip and cute little holograms in a few minutes, using what looks like a standard machine designed for this job. This machine isn’t something you’d find at the local office supply store, but I doubt its cost is any huge part of the budget of setting up and staffing this office.

It creates a starting point to track you down should the need arise. If they hand it to you on the spot the address could be phony. If they mail it to you you must either actually live at that address or know someone who does.

What is the cost of such machines in each of a hundred DMV offices, versus one or two of them in one central location?

What is the cost of training every user in a field office, versus training a few users in a central location?

What is the cost of distributing small amounts of material to multiple locations, versus having a large amount of material shipped to one location.

I think you know the answers to these questions. :wink: