Stupid Rules May Make This The Absolute Worst DMV Ever

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Stupid Rules May Make This The Absolute Worst DMV

Image source: Gabriel White / Flickr / Creative Commons

WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia might have the worst Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) rules in the nation.

At least, it’s easy to conclude that after reading a column by Reason’s Mike Riggs, who took a driving test at a D.C. DMV last week.

He quickly learned four things:

  • Every car must have up-to-date inspection stickers.
  • Every car must have an emergency hand brake between the front seats.
  • All the windows must work.
  • Cars cannot be used for testing if a check engine light is on.

“If your car fails any of these criteria, you can’t use it for your road test,” Riggs wrote.

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A DMV employee suggested that Riggs rent a car from a nearby lot, dubbed the “parking lot guys.”

“I asked the DMV clerk to reschedule me for later in the month. The next available date? June 21,” Riggs wrote.

Not wanting to wait that long, he gave in and forked over $60 to rent a car for one hour of testing.

“D.C. has exactly one testing center for 700,000 residents, which is why there’s a multi-month gap between when you take your written test and when you can complete your driving test (and no, you cannot schedule the driving test before you’ve passed your written test). That’s absurd,” Riggs wrote.

Riggs also knocked the idea that check engine lights are a good predictor of car safety.

“That light could mean you need to replace a fuse or a sensor or a bulb, that you already replaced one of those things, or that your car is about to die,” he wrote. “But because manufacturers give us only enough information to get us into a dealership, the only way to know exactly what needs checking is to fork over several hundred bucks (or more) to a mechanic or drive around and see what happens. Enough people have done the latter for all of us to know that we are not in imminent danger when riding in a car with an illuminated ‘check engine’ light.”

Riggs concluded: “The check engine light is a farce, and so is the hand brake: my examiner spent our entire ride holding a pen and clipboard. If I didn’t have the capacity to brake at a moment’s notice, she didn’t either.”

We’re curious: What is your worst DMV experience? Share it in the section below:

Frustrated Man Pays DMV Bill With 300,000 Pennies

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Frustrated Man Pays DMV Bill With 300,000 Pennies

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LEBANON, Va. — It cost Nick Stafford $1,005 to pay a sales tax of around $3,000 on two new cars – but he says it was worth it.

That’s because Stafford paid the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with 300,000 pennies that weighed a total of 1,600 pounds.

The pennies filled five wheelbarrows, which Stafford rolled into the DMV office in Lebanon, Va., this month. He also paid 11 people around $10 an hour to help him with his stunt by breaking open rolls of pennies. Stafford’s full costs of $1,005 included the wheelbarrows, the laborers, and three lawsuits he filed.

“If they were going to inconvenience me, then I was going to inconvenience them,” Stafford said.

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Stafford was upset with the DMV because its employees would not give him the phone numbers to nine local offices. When he called with the request, Stafford’s call was repeatedly rerouted to a call center in Richmond.

Stafford simply wanted to know which of his four houses he should list when licensing his son’s new car, the Bristol Herald Courier reported. He called the Lebanon DMV but was routed to Richmond. After he filed a Freedom of Information Act to get the Lebanon DMV number and called it, he was told the number was not for public use. Frustrated, he kept calling the number until employees answered his question.

Stafford then decided he wanted the phone numbers of nine other DMV offices, and he filed suit to obtain them. The suit was dismissed by the judge when the state gave Stafford the phone numbers.

“The phone numbers are irrelevant to me,” Stafford said. “I don’t need them. I told the judge ‘I think I proved my point here.’”

“I think the backbone to our republic and our democracy is open government and transparency in government and it shocks me that a lot of people don’t know the power of FOIA,” he added.

Have you ever wanted to pay the government in pennies? Share your thoughts on his stunt in the section below:

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