Why does the government insist on calling driver's licenses driver licenses?

Why does the government (or at least the state government of Alabama) insist on calling the permit that everyone I’ve ever heard calls a “driver’s license” a “driver license”? Every official document I’ve seen referring to them calls it a driver license, but I can’t fathom why. Is there a reason for this, or it just pointless nitpicking in an attempt to be “correct”? (The question is prompted by the fact that I got mine today, by the way.)

Vox Imperatoris

Either term is technically correct.

Well, I know it is, but why do they call it that when no one else (IME) does?


Drawing from my experience working with transportation authorities, I would guess that the papers and licenses themselves probably derive the term from the authorizing legislation; so if the Alabama legislature called it a “Driver license” in the law, it ends up being called that. My Ontario “Driver’s Licence” takes its name from the Drivers and Vehicles Act, where in fact the term “Driver’s Licence” is specifically defined.

So I think it likely goes back to whomever wordsmithed the law of the state. If they’d happened to type it “Driver’s License” you’d have that on your license. Kind of random, I’d say.

I meant no one else as in no actual person in conversation would say “driver license”.

But, RickJay, that’s probably right, and there may not be a real answer to this question.

Probably for much the same reason that the FAA calls a pilot’s license a “Airman’s certificate”

Really? I’ve rarely hear it called anything but “driver’s license” in Northern California. Like they will usually ask to see your license when you try to buy beer. Or a new employer will ask you to bring in your birth certificate and driver’s license. I don’t have a license, but I do hold a California ID, so I notice these things.

I think you need to reread my post. :stuck_out_tongue:

:smack: No wonder the whole thing didn’t make sense. I figured you were talking about calling them ID’s or something. Whoops!

Never heard it called any thing but a license. I think of a driver’s permit, as what you get as a temperoray learner’s license, after you pass the written but before you take the behind the wheek test.

I am going over your post again. Are you saying that no one calls it a liciense? or the the governmant calls it a liciense?

He’s saying that no one, in daily conversation, uses the word “driver” before the word “license.” Instead, they use the word “driver’s” before the word “license.” Many governments, however, use the word “driver” before the word “license,” in defiance of common usage and common sense.

There’s no such word as “liciense,” whether it’s preceded by “driver” or “driver’s.”

And then there’s “daylight saving time” (which actually makes sense) vs. “daylight savings time” (which is what most people say).

Presumably it is a license to be a driver rather than a license possessed by a driver (although it is that as well.)

I just now looked at my Minnesota license. It says, Driver’s License.

Until this post I couldn’t figure out what the purpose of this thread was. You never heard of license?:confused:

I just checked and my New York State license says “Driver License”. Never noticed that before.

For the same reason they don’t call them “Medical’s license” or “Business’ license” or “Liquor Seller’s license”.

My DE license says “Driver License”. I’d never notice that either.