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Driver’s License Renewal Creates Insanity

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Everyone has a DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) story or two or three.  My previous visit occurred in 2001 when we moved to Florida from Tennessee, necessitating a change in my driver’s license. Back then, said visit required an eye test and new photo taken. A few weeks ago, I received a letter from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), notifying me that because of my advanced age, I must undergo an eye test to renew my driver’s license before my April birthday.

To add insult on top of insult, they later sent me a notice that my current driver’s license was missing the gold star in the upper, right corner and is not acceptable as a REAL form of identification.

I immediately went online and researched what I needed to do, provide and swear to in order to comply with Florida DMV law.

At a long overdue visit to my eye doctor, I mentioned the upcoming dreaded eye test at the DMV. He assured me he could take care of that part of the process as he completed my regular exam.  While I ordered the new distance glasses the tests showed I needed, my eye doctor completed the DMV form to show he performed all the necessary tests.  He clearly stated that I did not need the newly-ordered distance lenses to qualify for the license.

With all the necessary paperwork in hand, I was ready to tackle the DMV!

Off to Get My Driver’s License Renewed – or So I Thought!

We drove to a nearby DMV office.  I had registered online, made a proper appointment and collected all the information requested. After a longer-than-desired wait, they called my number, and I moved to the chair and faced – not a person – but a large computer monitor.  No humans in sight!

A man’s face popped up on the screen spewing instructions at me, asking if I brought the required paperwork.  I said yes and said I also had the DMV form from my eye doctor with the results of my eye test taken the week before, so I would not need to take their eye test.  He directed me to place the various documents on the black mat and scanned each one.  We spent about 20 minutes going through this process as he processed each document.

Driver’s License Requires Eye Test

Finally, he told me an eye test was next.  I reminded him that I had already undergone an eye test at my eye doctor’s office the week before and again showed him the completed form.  He scanned it and studied it, flipped it over, studied it some more and then began typing.  I sat and fidgeted and waited.  Finally, he informed me that I would need to go to their main office in downtown Bradenton, because his office could not process my eye test.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me that up front.  He shrugged!  The clerk made me an appointment, gave me the address and sent me on my way.

Round 1 completed, and I left there frustrated and annoyed.

At the Next DMV Office for Round 2

Three days later, I appeared 5 min. early for my next appointment in Bradenton and sat for ½ hour past my appointment time.

When I finally received the call to enter the next room to present my paperwork, a real human greeted me! Things already looked more positive!  I explained my problem and handed over my eye test form, along with my Voter’s Registration card, Social Security card, 2 proofs of address, current driver’s license, certified birth certificate and whatever else was on the list.  I described my previous visit to their Ellenton satellite office.  She said their employees all know they cannot process eye tests completed outside the DMV and he should have told me that up front.  Grrrr.

DMV Now Wants to See My Marriage License

First problem arose when the nice young woman informed me that because the gold star was missing from my current license, I also must present our marriage certificate – certified, of course.  Seems that because my license shows my maiden name, along with my married name, she wanted my marriage certificate to prove my name actually changed from my original birth certificate.  This is now a requirement for women to obtain a “REAL” driver’s license with that little gold star!

I began driving – with a valid driver’s license – at age 14 in 1957! After Jim and I married in 1962, I presented myself at my local DMV in Tennessee with birth certificate and marriage license and current driver’s license in hand to request a name change on my license. The clerk completed the necessary steps and issued me a new license. No problem. Sixty-five years later, they need proof of why I changed my name?

After muttering all manner of insults under my breath, I asked what happens if I can’t find it.  SOL, Carol! Marriage license required!

DMV Won’t Accept My Eye Exam Form

On to my eye test:  Even though my doctor checked a box and signed saying I did not need the new distance glasses to qualify, she required his signature by the box saying I am in possession of said glasses.  My glasses have not yet arrived.  Too bad, so sad, Carol!

She gave me a new DMV appointment to return there in 4 days with the signed letter and my marriage license.  And after I paid some money for the privilege of “failing the eye test,” she ordered a temporary driver’s license valid for 60 days, “just in case.”

I swear the DMV is out to get me!

Random Observations about the DMV

During those first 2 visits to the DMV, I noticed a few oddities. The

DMV Staff Display Zero Friendliness

I believe they trained staff not to smile.  Either that or they are a bunch of unhappy State employees! Seems like a day would go faster if one displays a pleasant attitude and a smile.

The DMV Likes Paper!

With so many improvements in technology to lessen or eliminate paperwork (think online banking, for one), the DMV seemed to miss out.   Each visit, I left with enough papers to wallpaper a room!

More Training Needed at the Driver’s License Office

When it comes to the DMV, the left hand doesn’t seem to know what the right hand is doing.  By that, I mean that the “person” who put me through 25 minutes of processing papers, only to say his office didn’t handle what I had specifically requested at the beginning of said appointment.  He also failed to tell me they needed my marriage license.  Do they not train their staff?

The young man at the Ellenton satellite office of DMV said he would save my information for my next appointment.  He did not!

Bureaucracy at Work

The DMV does not allow cash payments of any kind. But they quickly hit you with a $2.50 transaction fee for any debit or credit card payment.  This begs the question:  Wouldn’t it make sense to hire and train a few honest employees to work as cashiers?  That would save applicants the processing fee.  But then, has the government ever put the consumer first?

Driver’s License Renewal Success

Today, I returned to the DMV for a third visit and left with my “REAL” driver’s license in hand, little gold star in place.  Said license is good for 8 years!  By that time, I’ll either be too old to drive or dead.  Doesn’t matter, because I will never go through this again!

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