Jul 2, 2018
The 7 Most Horrible DMVs
Every time you move to a new state, you must devote at least one full day, probably more, to being tortured at the DMV.
And I've moved to new states 10 times.
I don't remember my first few experiences, in Illinois, Nebraska, and Indiana, but after that it's all downhill. Here are the worst DMVs, in order:
2. Tennessee. First they said "this driver's license photo doesn't look like you. Do you have anything else?" I showed them my student id. "Sorry, we need a driver's license." Finally I had them call the dean of my college to verify my identity.
4. Florida. You have to memorize a book of driving rules and then pass a test with 100%. Anything less than 100% is a failure, and you have to take it over again. Some of the rules were for trucks and motorcycles. I was trying to register a car, so I skipped over those. But the test was mostly about "what speed should motorcycles go in a passing zone when it's raining?" and "What type of hitch should your semi be attached to your cab with?"
Now I know all of the rules of the road for trucks and motorcycles in Florida.
5. Pennsylvania. At the entrance, there are two lines, with signs stating "With a picture id" and "Without a picture id." I don't know why I thought they would be telling the truth, after my experiences in California and Ohio, but like a idiot I pulled out my picture id card and waited. An hour later, I got to the front of the line, and was told "This line is for people who are getting their driver's license for the first time. That line over there is for people who want to transfer from a new state." Go wait over there for an hour and a half.
Did I mention that Pennsylvania requires two exhaust emission tests? From different places on the other side of town from each other.
7. New York. Don't even think about moving to New York. The DMV is a nightmare of epic proportions.
Every time I stood in one of the interminable lines, the clerk would invent some other document I needed.
The title (it's a leased car, so I don't have the title).
A form sent by the person sitting at a desk in an archive in Vermont who actually has physical access to the title.
My proof of insurance.
No, not proof of insurance coverage that began three months ago; it has to be insurance coverage that begins today.
I went back day after day, talked to different clerks every time, and got different and contradictory information about what forms I would need to fill out. Finally, after jumping through hoop after hoop, I was waiting for one last form for Grace from my insurance company to fax the fifth insurance form that they wanted directly to Debbie at the DMV.
"When this one comes in, we'll be done, right?" I asked. "You'll allow me to register my car in this state?"
"Yes, that's the last document we'll need," Debbie said. Then: "Well, I'm going home for the day. Someone else will help you."
"No! No!" I yelled. "Someone else will just invent more documents that I need, and I'll have to start all over again."
"Well, my shift is over. I'm going home."
"Could I come back tomorrow and see you then? Every DMV clerk has different requirements, so someone else will make me do different things."
"You'd have to step to the back of the line and wait for another hour. Just go to the next person when your form comes in."
I waited. 20 minutes later, Grace faxed over the fifth insurance form . I wanted in line for the next clerk.
"Oh, you have everything you need, except for the afidavits that you don't have any DUI convictions at any of the previous states that you have lived in. Just call the local police department at each of the cities you lived in, and have them send you the forms...."