“This is ridiculous” Replied someone leaving the department of motor vehicles in McMinnville, and they weren’t alone in their thinking. In fact when you compare Oregon to other States, Oregon appears more difficult to deal with in attempting to getting a new drivers license or transferring your vehicle title from one state to another. Here’s why.
Most States only require an active driver license from another state with some sort of utility bill, (proof of residence) possibly a social security card as well. Oregon requires the former drivers license, Utility Bill (in which wasn’t always enough), a certified birth certificate or passport.
I was curious on how many people were actually turned away, because every time I brought up the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to someone they had some horror story they told me, so I decided to do two different studies and here is what I found out.
I went to seven offices throughout a two month period, I watched and listened, examining 1077 people that came to the counter in which 323 were turned away without getting what they came there for, or in other words 31%. None of that 31% had anything to do with failing some sort of test.
I observed many new people to the State; came with birth certificates in Standard form, or a hospital birth certificate, which Oregon does not recognize as legal proof. They do accept passports, but here’s the catch. In order to get a passport (which Oregon recognizes as proof of citizenship) according to the U.S. State Dept, one need only to provide secondary proof of citizenship which includes a birth certificate in standard form, or from the hospital, (something the State of Oregon rejects). Making Oregon’s screening process almost frivolous in many regards.
It just didn’t stop at getting a drivers license. For example, one person came into the office to get new plates and transfer his title from his previous State to Oregon State; this was the second time he had been there. The first time he came in, they convinced him what he brought wasn’t the title (Which Oregon requires), but something else, so he ordered a new title, only to receive the very same thing Oregon DMV refused to accept the first time.
Other inconsistencies that were commonly found were these, according to Amy Joyce spokesman for Department of Motor Vehicles. “DMV does not require an activation signature from the power company, only a statement mailed” and yet most offices turned people away stating that “isn’t enough” and they need a signed activation signature from power company with original signature. Also according to Joyce “Standard forms proof of birth are accepted when original, but not copied” and yet I didn’t see one case where it was actually allowed at any office.
In my time observing the DMV I witnessed a lot of comments from customers, many I can’t possibly write about, but here were a few comments that stood out. “It was the worse experience of my life”. “I can’t believe my brother who was born here, can’t get a license, after coming back from Iraq”. “He, is my son that lives at home with us, how can he have the power bill put in his name”.
Is Oregon’s tough DMV rule’s causing many Oregonians to find alternatives to getting a drivers license in the State? I have been told by several people that they gave up trying to get a license here, and now just go back to the State in which they came to have it renewed.
So how bad is it? My second study; showed out of 185 People I asked within communities “If they have ever had a problem with the DMV?” about 80% said they have. Many people commented they try to avoid them at all cost.
I think the biggest factor DMV faces, is they believe to be a regulatory agency only and not a customer service based agency. Thus they have this feeling of power that allows them to act the way they do, even though the qualifications of laws they enforce are written and passed by representatives, not them.
Amy Joyce of the DMV along with many people by what I gather from at least one Senator that wrote me, seem to think if Oregon doesn’t take this hard stance (everyone from the U.S.) would come to Oregon in order to get a license and “Save money”, compared to the State they actually live in. I personally disagree with that; and actually had to restrain myself from responding that they do have medications for paranoia these days by prescription in case the Senate was interested?
As I began my final exit from the DMV office with the study now complete and in hand, I could hear in the background.
“Your license from that State expires in two days, you’re cutting it close, another few days and you would have to take a driving test” said the person behind the counter
“Actually if you read the manual, you have a year after it expires before you have to take the driving test” replied the customer. “Oh” replied the DMV employee.
Yes indeed I thought, what a fitting way to end the study.