Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Dangerous and Disingenuous DMV

Yesterday I took my first steps into the valley of the shadow of death. Yes, that’s right. I logged into the DMV website to set up a driver’s permit test for Son Number One. Please pray for our family.

I would love to be optimistic about what’s about to happen, but let’s be serious. This is 2020. The year of the train wreck. And never mind the calendar, DNA simply is not on our side at the DMV. I was a horrible driver as a teenager. I couldn’t stop wrecking cars, and my wife was no better. There are auto salvage yards across California named after our family, and not because we own them.

The only good news here is that as far as our kids go, I think Son Number One is probably our best bet to be the safest driver. He’ll probably only wreck a couple of our cars while he’s in high school. The other two are going to be far worse.

Son Number Three is really the one we all need to worry about. Fair warning to all drivers and pedestrians of Northern California – you have three more years to get your affairs in order.

Because it’s 2020, the DMV isn’t making any new appointments, so Number One and I get to go take a number with the unwashed masses. Six feet apart wasn’t far enough at the DMV before COVID. But possibly worse than actually going there to wait in line could be the experience of navigating the website to figure out what we had to do in the first place. I would blame COVID for that, but we all know better.

It only took me a couple hours to finally have a vague idea about what forms we needed to fill out and which documents we needed to bring to prove that our son who lives in California with us at our house is related to parents that live in the same house and can vouch for the fact that he lives in the house that is located in California, provided we bring documentation proving that the house is in fact in California, the fact that we own it, the fact that we also live there, and the fact that he is, in fact, a human who was born. And also passports.

About an hour and a half into my online adventure, lost somewhere in the circular rat maze of non-informative information pages, I came across something that shocked me to the core. The dangers of COVID are far worse and more widespread than we ever could have imagined.

Due to COVID-related scheduling issues, the following temporary changes are in place:

• License holders 69 and younger (Beginning March 1, 2020): Most drivers now qualify for online renewal

• License holders over the age of 70 (March-December 2020 expirations): Automatic extension valid for one year from original expiration date.

Holy crap, people! The ninety-five-year-old man who went blind at the beginning of the year and is still driving because none of his kids want to be the one that told him to stop gets to keep his license for another year! That guy, hurtling blind down your neighborhood street in his ancient Cadillac is dangerous. He’s nearly as dangerous behind the wheel as a teenage boy!

That’s really the thing I don’t understand in all this. Why are they even letting him get his permit if they’re still worrying about COVID? That seems like disingenuous concern. I mean, they are even letting them go back to school part time now.

There is no question in my mind that letting high schoolers drive themselves to school is far more dangerous than COVID ever could be for them.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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