Tuesday, August 01, 2006

a time for renewal

my driver's license expires this week, which means i need to go in to the bmv to get a new one. i've been dreading this, as a recent computer "upgrade" at the indiana bmv went horribly awry. even now, three weeks later, bmv customers still face extended waits, with some people waiting for hours only to leave without what they came for.

in fact, the motor bureau systems are now so fouled up that police are running into problems pulling up driver records—driver info is incomplete and often incorrect. people whose licenses should be suspended are walking away with new driver's licenses. so if you want to drive in indiana with a suspended license, now is the time to do it: even if you get pulled over, there's still a chance you'll get away with it.

the computer foul-up has triggered a new rash of anger directed toward bmv commissioner joel silverman, who was already unpopular after closing branches and removing all the clocks from branch walls. (walls without clocks might work in casinos, but they have things to keep visitors distracted, like gambling and cocktail waitresses in skimpy outfits who bring you free booze, neither of which are available at your local license branch.) a new petition demanding that mitch daniels fire silverman currently has more than 1100 signatures, many of which have comments and personal testimonies of nightmare bmv visits, including some that the south bend tribune says "can't be repeated in a family newspaper."

i haven't heard a lot of complaints about people getting driver's licenses renewed—most problems seem to involve license plates and titles—but in typical bureaucratic style, visitors often need to wait in line at the sign-in desk for extended periods of time before progressing to the more advanced stages of waiting. so even if the line for driver's licenses is short, i could potentially be stuck there for hours.

so i'll be heading there in the next couple days, possibly in the morning when i get up. i plan to bring a pen and take notes regarding my progress as well as the general mood inside the place. expect a follow-up post shortly, perhaps tuesday afternoon.

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