Aug 20, 2008

DMV woes

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that the NH Dept of Motor Vehicles decided to go to a new licensing system. On June 16th of this year my name legally changed to Karyn which meant the change of all of my personal documents. About 3 weeks before that change happened the NH DMV implemented the new licensing system but never thought it through well enough to have it go seamlessly.

The first issue that we noticed was the amount of time I needed to spend at the DMV to get a new license. Under the old system it would normally take me no more than 10 minutes start to finish and that was one of the things I loved about the way Govt ran up here, it was so simple and streamlined. That was until we walked in the door of the registry, saw the line and proceeded to spend over 3 hours for my new license.

When I got my new license I was excited about finally having the new name on it but disappointed in the fact that it was now a cheap paper temporary license that would only be good for 60 days until the new one was mailed. Apparently they felt this new system would help prevent fraud.

As I walked out of the registry 2 things came to mind. One was the fact that when I walked in the door my hair was nice and flat ironed out. Now anyone that has ever seen old picture of me would know that I have such thick hair that in order for it to look tamed I need to flat iron it. With so many people in the room that day, the humidity in the room and the length of time, my hair came out looking like one big frizzy mess by the time the actual picture was taken. The only saving grace was that my license renewal is for next year anyway so I'll be getting a new picture then

The 2nd thing that struck me was how dark the actual picture was. You can surely make out my hair and face but the picture is so dark there's no true way to know it was me.

I'd been reading he paper since this new system was implemented and I've noticed that a lot of people seem to be having trouble using their new "Temp" ID. They look so fake that banks, liquor stores etc all refuse to accept them as valid forms of ID. (Oh great) The pocitive in this was that every day that ticked down was one less day I had to worry about using my id because my new one would soon arrive.

Another "problem" that was being written about was the fact that the Temp licenses for some people were expiring before getting a new one and sure enough as of last Friday my temp has expired. 2 days prior to it expiring I contacted the DMV to let them know I hadn't received my permanent license and after reviewing my record, I was assured that my license is valid no matter what. She stated according the system I should be receiving the new one any time now.

Yesterday upon opening the mailbox I was happy to see an envelope form the NH DMV but a bit perplexed when I realized that there was nothing "hard" like a license in the envelope and my first thought was "oh, oh"

There was a letter in the envelope that stated "Unfortunately the image we captured of you did not come out clearly and as such we are unable to mail you your new permanent license." They want me to come back in a have my picture redone, then they will issue me ANOTHER 60 day temp license.

Ok, these days it takes a lot more to rattle my cage but c'mon WTF people. Why did you have to wait until 1) My 1st temp expired before sending me a letter and 2) Does this means because you screwed the system up so badly I'll need to take ANOTHER day off work to get my license redone? Not to mention the fact that it will now be 120 days on a driver's license that most of the state of NH doesn't accept as a valid form of identification

I've always loved this state and I was very proud of the way it had been run. I have to say this leaves a lot of disappointment with me as it makes me wonder if this is more of what our future holds. In my opinion this is nothing more than more B.S. under the guise of homeland security.

If I have to walk away with something positive (and I will) it is the fact that I wont be stuck with the picture that made me look like a crack whore drag queen ….

How's your day going?



Sara said...

Considering the problems NH has had producing the new 'Real ID' compliant licenses, if I were a cynical type I would almost want to say that the handling of the problems works in their favor by spreading the load over a longer period of time...

Sorry for the trouble and wasted time, Karyn. But like you said, on the bright side now you can have a 'picture to be proud of'. As if you could take a 'bad' picture...never!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like poor design, poor implementation, lack of testing, or any and all of the above! Wow, what a cock up. When I got my new licence, it took about an hour, tops. Most of the time was waiting to be served and waiting for the "person who doesn't usually work at this counter" to get a supervisor to accept my carry letter so I could get "Sex: F." When they took the photo, it was digital, so I got to approve before I accepted. I walked out with a temporary licence, but the plastic laminated picture licence arrived in maybe a week.

Not all B.C. bureaucracy works that well. I'm still waiting for my provincial health insurance card. :\

Glad you were happy with your picture in the end! Hope you get your non-temporary licence soon.

~K~ said...

Sara that whole real id thing hasn't gone over well up here to begin with. People in NH feel it is a violation of their rights and initially the govt said they would refuse to be a part of it to protect the residents. They later recanted that in favor of it being too costly. Then the negotiated saying they just needed more time .. go figure

Funny enough my wife being an internal revenue employee is dealing with the same problem with their new work ids ...

Veronique I am so jealous. NH does not allow us to change gender markers until AFTER the surgery. This is one of the things that makes me uncomfortable about showing my id because it could lead to me being discriminated against ....

Anonymous said...

The licence is the only thing we get to change before (or without) surgery. It's considered a matter of personal safety, because your licence is your primary ID. I showed them my carry letter from my therapist, which was faxed to Victoria. They told me that it still had to be approved officially, but apparently it was, thankfully.

I hope your "M" is tiny like ours and that no one will pay attention to it.

Sara said...

Hi Karyn,

I should have been more clear, I'm sorry! I have been following NH's fight (and capitulation) and personally have several huge issues with the RealID, both in concept and execution. I very much sympathize with everyone that will have to deal with the problems and loss of civil liberties that are inevitable (myself included).

To agree with what Veronique said, I hope the 'M' is as small and inconspicous. Small consolation, but typically only the picture and name are compared...

Amelie said...

That is unbelievable!! How frustrating =(