25 thoughts on “Drivers’ Licenses”

  1. A lot of Americans don’t know this, but in many Mexican states a driver’s license is like a fishing license. You just go pay the small fee and they give you one, without any written test or driving test. It’s just a way for the local government to collect some revenue and record how many residents might be on the road.

    Those licenses are valid here.

    1. I lived overseas for a few years, and had to get a local license…

      Then my California license expired…but I had the foreign one (from a 5 square mile island in the Caribbean).

      So, back in LA I wanted to rent a car…presented my license booklet, in Dutch… Not a single problem…0200 and the car rental guy couldn’t care less. I could have made a license on my computer and satisfied him…

  2. I’ve never noticed that possession of a driver’s license has any effect on the ability to drive.
    After 9/11 the Australian government makes private pilots get a background check every two years in case we are terrorists. I asked my local member of Parliament what they were going to do about people who just let the license lapse. It was news that those people could actually still fly an aircraft if they wanted and that if they were planning terrorism “flying without a license” was going to be the least of their concerns.

    1. Government officials are full of lapses involving the assumption that people will or won’t do stuff because there’s a law about it.

      1. And those officials never suffer themselves for their ‘lapses’. But let a businessman or taxpayer make a mistake, and it’s off to jail for them.

    2. If you crash your plane, insurance might try to deny coverage on the basis of a lapsed license. Though if you’ve got a current BFR and medical you’d probably be fine. I’ve never had someone conducting a BFR or medical ask to see my license, or someone renting me an aircraft (glider) either. BFR, medical declaration, check flight .. you’re good to go.

      I’m trying to figure out if there’s any reason to bother to get a California driver’s license. There are a few triggering events which require it, such as paying property taxes or claiming state resident tuition rates but I won’t be doing those. My insurance company said I’ll get a 20% discount of my premiums 18 months after having a CA license … which would cover the last 6 or 9 months of my H-1B visa. That doesn’t sound worth it even on a strictly financial basis, let alone counting the hassle.

      1. Pilot are not licensed, they are certificated…having a certificate, a current medical and whatever else (like a BFR) might be specified is a requirement of Part 61.

    3. Don’t mention VR flight simulators, or they’ll really freak out. I can just imagine the time when they demand we get a background check and pilot’s license before we can buy Microsoft Flight Simulator.

  3. Instead, you should just have to show proof of insurance.

    Be careful what you wish for. Meeting the demands of an insurance company could be quite expensive in time and money and what if you didn’t pass the social justice hurdle?

    1. Fine…and if you’re on the road without insurance, the cops arrest you, confiscate your car, and then crush it..since you will be in prison for ten years or so.

      Or, anyone you injured gets you as an indentured worker for as long as it takes to pay your damages off.

      There needs to be a sufficient motivation to get insurance that it’s simply far easier to get it.

      1. Here’s a better idea. You insure your car and person and if someone else doesn’t insure their car and they crash it, tough luck.

        Despite mandatory insurance, you still get people on the roads who’ve crashed a dozen or more times. And plenty who drive without insurance despite the law.

        And making it mandatory just drives up the price, because the insurers know they have a captive market.

    2. In a competitive market, the insurer with crazy requirements loses customers to an insurer with more reasonable requirements. There might be a problem to the extent that insurance regulations prevent a competitive market.

  4. I think they should, but not by the DMV. Instead, I think you should get your drivers licenses from Sears. That’s what Sears could do now days. Sell tires, auto parts, and be a place to get your drivers licenses.
    If you need an ID card, then you go to Target. Along with selling clothes, shoes, and other items, they can issue ID cards.

    If you want to get a passport, then you need to go to Kohl’s.
    All of these store would work with the state, and federal government. They will send a report to the government for each application. Think of it as the state governments, and the federal government outsourcing to department stores, and grocery stores.

    Now the mail.
    Shut down all post offices, and reopen them in grocery stores. The stores would pay the USPS a weekly fee for having the post office inside their store. The postal employees at the store, are store employees. As you walk into the store, the mail boxes will be on the left side of the store. As you walk in, to your left is the counter where you will pickup packages, or mail packages.

    If you have a rural mail box, then your mail will be delivered by drone. Attached to the sides of peoples home, would be a metal tube. The drone would place the mail in a slot to the side of the tube, at the top. There would need to be some sort of flap to prevent water from going into the tube. At the bottom of your tube, is your mail box. It is made of metal, and has a glass window on the door.
    Some packages would have to be delivered by postal employee. These are items that are fragile, or are too big to be delivered by drone.

    If Amazon, or any other company wish to use drones, to deliver packages to peoples homes, then they will need to get a permit from the USPS.

    1. The mail stuff is done like that in Australia. Most Post Offices are run by private people and also handle some banking, bill paying etc for mostly older people. There are also Post Offices in some newsagents, run by the news agency employees. I’m not sure the US has newsagents. In Australia they are stores where you can buy newspapers, magazines, birthday cards, office supplies etc and MOST importantly, tickets in various forms of gambling. I told you it wasn’t a serious country.
      As for outsourcing other government functions to private individuals and companies, be careful what you wish for. I know of several examples where this is a disaster with more restrictions, bureaucracy and red tape than dealing directly with the government as the government can add requirements willy nilly as they don’t have to do the day today work and the organisations love it because it adds to their profits just like military cost plus contracts..

    2. Post offices are largely in drug stores in Canada (at least in Ontario)…and are open more convenient hours, including Sundays…

      But the mail service is far, far worse (and more expensive) than that in the US.

    3. What incentive does a random retailer have to insure skill for a driver’s license they issue? An insurance provider issuing driver’s liability coverage has a clear incentive. And being issued by many insurers with the same incentive, in competition with each other, the problem of improper denial is mostly addressed. A problem may arise if insurance is prevented from operating as a free market.

      1. When I moved to Canada, I went to the nearest insurance office, showed them my British driving license, and they gave me a Canadian one. Even though I was driving on the wrong side of the road with very different traffic rules; here’s your license, have fun!

        As for the ‘skill test’, I failed my first UK driving test because I ran into a situation that I wouldn’t normally see in daily driving, and didn’t handle it very well (mostly because I knew I’d be failed at that point anyway).

        Had I not randomly run into that situation, I would have passed. So it’s incredibly arbitrary, and most people need a year or more of driving beyond the point where they get a license before they’re at all competent. You can’t learn how to deal with all the things you meet on the road with a couple of dozen lesson.

        1. Oh, yeah, and I think I was the only one of my schoolfriends who didn’t crash their first car, and a few years later I was sliding cars at speed on muddy gravel roads for fun.

          Yet I failed the test, and they didn’t.

  5. I’ve taken the road test once, when I got my first license as a teenager in VA. When I moved to NH, no test of any sort, just hand in the VA license and here’s your NH license. When I moved to NC, just the written test, no road. So I’ve been driving for more than a ha;f century on just the one demonstration I could operate a car. Why bother? Of course, the one time I got a speeding ticket, 23 years ago, I paid a lawyer to change it to “improper equipent.” So the system’s crooked anyway. I also think “safety inspection” is a joke (I used to do state inspections when I lived in NH).

  6. Well, it all does beg the question of why we require a license and insurance to operate the most common conveyance. I’m pretty sure the Founding Father’s would’ve blanched at the idea of licensing horses and riders, or fining or jailing people for riding their horse without some government stamp.

    Licensing might have made sense when automobiles were experimental contraptions and nobody depended on them to get around or get to work. But once they became a virtual requirement for gainful employment and maintaining enough mobility to efficiently conduct daily affairs, they should have become a right (though one that can be revoked for criminal behavior) instead of a highly regulated privilege.

    If we use them like horses, then legally they should be no different from horses.

  7. Apparently no one has noticed that TSA has set the standard for what kind of driver license is acceptable if one is to board an airliner. A number of states, including California and Virginia (my former and current states of residence, respectively) did not have driver licenses that were “up to TSA standards.” That has since been remedied by the states, but several other things remain as obstacles. For example, I have had, in the past 6 months, both knees fully replaced. I asked my surgeon if they would set off an airport metal detector, and he replied “You’d better hope so!” But he did add that I would have to inform TSA about my knees myself, since they no longer accept the cards that my orthopedics clinic issued…they aren’t government cards, so they aren’t valid in the eyes of TSA.

    That’s what I think the problem is with this whole approach. Some parts of government won’t accept the security clearances granted by other parts, and no part of government will accept a non-governmental “license” of any kind.

  8. I had a pacemaker installed two years ago. Three weeks later, I went to Japan. For the first 6 weeks after it was emplanted, I wasn’t allowed to raise my left arm over my head because it could detach the electrical lead from my heart. I have a pacemaker card that I showed to TSA. Of course, they tried to make me go through the scanner where I would’ve had to raise my arms instead of letting me go through the metal detector (which would’ve been harmless). When I told them I couldn’t do that, they took their own sweet time to get someone to come grope me for 10 minutes. I came close to missing our connecting flight. Have fun with your knees and the TSA. You’re going to love it.

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