The RMV sucks, but we knew that

This post is dedicated to how much the RMV sucks. No amusing stories, no analysis of the problem, no thoughtful suggestions for how to improve the place. Only suck, suck, and more suck.

OK, so it's not completely baseless. Last week, I went to the RMV to change my name on my license. Which makes me wonder, why is it the Registry of Motor Vehicles? Why can't it be a department like it is everywhere else? Why does everything in this state commonwealth have to have some weirdass name? I suppose it could be worse; they could be one of the departments that insists on being called the Authority of whatever, as if we needed reminding that there is no free market when it comes to turnpikes, subways, ports, educational financing, redevelopment, or water resources. So, I went into the non-authoritarian RMV to change the name on my license. I waited for my cryptic letter-number combination to be called, and went up to the counter. The person didn't even look at the documentation I'd brought in, but just asked me to spell my new name and entered it into the computer. Then he told me to stand against the blue thing to take a new picture.

D'oh, what?

I asked him if my old picture was still in the computer. He said it was, but there's a state law that they can't reuse it when there's a change of information because "everything's gotta match." I assured him that I didn't look any different, and I really liked my old picture. I mean, really, how often does one get a decent-looking ID picture?



He told me they couldn't process it without a new picture, because it's a state law and they aren't allowed to reuse pictures if there's been a name change. This seemed too stupid to even be a state law (nevermind that we're not in a state), so I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to. He told me I could either take the picture or not change my name. So I took the stupid picture. Then I went back to my office, where I checked with others who said that they hadn't had to take new pictures when changing their names. The RMV website also doesn't list this as a requirement:



So, I ended up with this stupid-looking picture:



At least I managed to get the old one back, since I pointed out to him that the paper license says "not valid for ID" on it, and I planned to need ID during the next 7 to 10 business days. He told me that "they're supposed to accept these as ID" and the RMV people aren't supposed to give it back. Which is probably the policy, but I've gotten them back before, usually by a clerk who flat-out tells me I better take the old one since I don't look 21. So I pointed out that I'd been hassled before with the paper licenses, since I don't look 21, he agreed that I might have trouble and gave it back to me.


8 comments:

Martin & Jessica said...

My wife had this same problem at the Framingham Registry back in 2001, when we got married. She ran in while running errands, and had her wet hair tied back, and no makeup on. All they would tell her was "New name, new picture".

Jodie said...

I've told you about the elderly gentleman in line in front of me last time I renewed, right? He forgot his glasses, tried to pass the vision exam, and couldn't after 5 tries. The woman at the counter told him to go home and get his glasses to try again. Guess how he got home? By driving, of course!

eeka said...

But my old one was way cuter!

Yeah, durr, what? What happened to all the NOTICE:s all over the RMV forms about how the RMV people are authorized to revoke your operating privileges for any reason they see fit? You know, like not being able to see?

Penny said...

Oooh, I sympathize--I love my DL photo right now, and in CA you CAN renew it even with a new address (because the last thing the DMV here wants is PEOPLE APPEARING IN PERSON FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER). But you can't renew it forever, and this will be year seven, so I think the good-photo days are almost up.... Waaah!

eeka said...

Well yeah, we can change our address over the phone without a new picture. I understand that changing a name requires bringing your SS card in person, but why the hell does it need the new picture?

Anonymous said...

had to $800 in taxes and penalties to register a car I received as a gift. dumb bastards.

Anonymous said...

I recently got 7 total incidents on my driving record,all very small and stupid.(headlight out on someone elses car in daylight??)And one was where I got a check from Insurance cuz I avoided a drunk and scraped a fence.I was told to go to driver re-education...pay 100 dollars.Well I went to California to see my sick dad.Then I was told my licence was to suspended for 30 days.OK I'll pay 100 bucks for that instead.Back to Cali to see Dad.Come home.I get another letter from RMV.Now its 60 days suspension.Meanwhile the courthouse burns and loses my 55 dollar ticket.Now theres a warrant!!!I go to a little RMV substation, cuz North Attleboro closed after they did $250,000 restoration.And the girl says"You have to go to Brockton and you have no licence at this point".I hate Kaprilian and Im gonna write my first letter to Govt.,ever.My mom lives in VT, thats where im going to base my new licence.This state is very ignorant and Im sick of it!!!!!!! Dave R from PLAINVILLE

eeka said...

What.