Latest Posts

If I Ran the DMV

There are a few forms of torture that are legal in the United States and they all entail waiting in line to accomplish something very simple, or what I consider simple. The top ones that come to mind: the post office in general, passport offices specifically, banks and the DMV.

Since there are alternatives to the post office, going into a brick and mortar bank, and renewing your passport (getting one is another story), I will focus on the DMV as there are no real alternatives to this pain and suffering.

Once upon a time, at least here in Charlotte, there were small express DMV offices intended primarily for renewals and license plate changes. Yes, you still had to stand in line but the process was much faster and easier. And in their infinite wisdom, someone decided to shut these down. So now your only alternative is to line up like cattle to slaughter, regardless of the reason for your appearance. There has got to be a better way.

If I were in charge of the DMV I would implement the following changes.

snow WhiteFirst, I would train DMV personnel the same way Disney trains their staff. Greet people with a smile; act as if everything is possible; treat everyone like a special guest and be helpful. Wouldn’t that be revolutionary? People might actually think of a trip to the DMV as less like a root canal.

Second, I would establish express lines for those who are renewing their licenses and making simple license plate and/or title changes. Caveat would be no outstanding tickets or points on your license. If you get in this line and have tickets or points, you will pay an exorbitant penalty for not following the rules and taking up space on the express line.

Next – a separate line for learners’ permits and first time drivers’ tests would be helpful. Maybe we could even put them in their own room to help reduce their anxiety. I am sure driving examiners would appreciate a more relaxed teen-ager instead of one so keyed up and nervous they could implode any moment.

And perhaps a massage room for those parents who have been teaching their children to drive, or have just gotten an insurance quote and realize how much their premiums will increase when their darlings get their licenses. I’m sure some parents would prefer a bar, but we could not condone drinking and driving at the DMV, and especially not in front of soon to be new drivers.

Finally, if at any time you are on the premises and you are talking on your cell phone, you are automatically asked to leave and come back another day. No one needs to hear your drama – we have enough drama in our lives and while your particular phone conversation might be amusing to some, most of the conversations are quite annoying and not an emergency. Given the process changes I would implement, you will not be in line that long, so your calls can wait until you leave. I am sure there is technology out there that would allow a signal to alert the office when that same cell phone enters the building on the same day. And if caught, like the person who ignores the qualifiers for the express line, you will pay an exorbitant penalty. That’s for thinking the rules don’t apply to you or we are too clueless to enforce them.

So there you have it – my ideas on how to improve the DMV and make that trip almost a pleasant experience. What do you think?