California Drivers Already Hate the DMV, and Real ID Is Coming
Print Friendly and PDF

In California, the long wait times at the Department of Motor Vehicles have gone from really terrible to ridiculous in the last few years. The Sacramento Bee had a front-page story on Tuesday to sort out the situation, but it left out the all-important population numbers.

Starting January 1, 2015, California began issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, with a large response which added substantially to the universe of persons who use the DMV. It was reported last spring that 1,001,000 illegal aliens received licenses as of March 31. Last December, the total number of licenses was listed at 26,957,875.

So in an already crowded environment, an extra million DMV users apparently pushed things over the edge. The agency planned on adding staff to handle the extra users, but clearly it didn’t do enough. California’s population is 27 percent foreign born, which is a lot of additional DMV consumers.

Below, the California driver’s license for illegal aliens on the right has tiny type in the upper corner reading “Federal Limits Apply.” The license on the left that citizens get does not have that subtle marking. The licenses are nearly identical.

Unfortunately, the DMV crowds will be increasing because of the Real ID standard in identification, which was mandated by Congress after 9/11 but is only now being required for air travel starting October 1, 2020.

Drivers are fed up with the DMV. So are California lawmakers., Sacramento Bee, July 30, 2018

Tyré Nichols had no clue what he was getting himself into. He went online, arrived at the office at 9:45 a.m. and brought all his necessary paperwork.

He expected to be in and out within a couple hours. And yet, there he sat six hours later, waiting outside the Department of Motor Vehicles in miserable 98-degree heat.

He soaked in the views of cars endlessly searching for imaginary spaces and watched the scores of people illegally cross a busy street. He was joined by the dozens more who couldn’t find a seat in the cramped office filled with a couple hundred people.

Nichols had plenty of company. There was the 92-year-old woman unable to take her renewal test by the 4:30 p.m. closing time after waiting in line since 10 a.m. There was Ben Koehler, who was celebrating his 28th birthday scurrying at the last minute to get his license renewed before it expired the following day. There were countless others with stories to tell, all of whom had one thing in common: They were furious.

“Get ready to camp, because that’s what this DMV is all about,” Nichols said.

Over the last year, spiking wait times have hit particularly hard at DMV offices in the Sacramento region. Waits have increased by 60 percent, compared to a 48 percent increase in the Bay Area and 46 percent statewide. Some California lawmakers are infuriated with the DMV’s handling of the issue, accusing upper management of fudging wait times, misleading the public and poorly preparing itself for increased customer traffic expected with the advent of the Real ID card, which requires a visit to the DMV.

When the Legislature reconvenes on Aug. 6, rising wait times will be at the top of the list of priorities. Some are calling for a comprehensive audit into the department’s management, and Democrats are considering a plan to provide more money.

“Wait times are increasing, the lines are going around the block,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco. “Having people wait 4, 5, 6, 7 hours is completely unacceptable.” (Continues)

Print Friendly and PDF