• 4 minutes • 2009-11-06
    Ultimate Incompetence

    This post has nothing to do with programming or the world of computers.

    Despite the fact that I was really happy today to receive two new books that I ordered in the mail regarding eXtreme Programming and Test Driven Development (TDD) the day was not short of frustration.

    I got a call before noon from the lady that handles our insurance (home and auto) who told me that we cannot be insured since my wife’s driving license was suspended in Virginia.

    A bit of background here: My wife and I used to live in Virginia, but moved to Maryland on November 2008. When we moved we went to the MVA and changed our driving licenses (and surrendered the Virginia ones) as well as the tags of both our cars. We assumed the matter to be closed but we were wrong…

    It appears that Virginia is either too desperate for money or has ultimately incompetent people working in the DMV. Ultimate incompetence comes from the fact that they cannot receive information from a neighboring state (Maryland in this case) that Nikos no longer lives in your state and cancel his driving license because he has a new one. Desperate for money comes from the fact that the incompetent people do not update records and expect you to contact them to let them know that you left the state - and then they will update the records.

    So despite the fact that we have surrendered our licenses and changed tags in our cars (let alone move out of Virginia) a bit shy of a year ago, Virginia claimed that they don’t know anything and they suspended my wife’s license.

    This results in us not being able to renew our insurance since no underwriter will insure anyone who has a suspended license in any state.

    When we called the DMV today (and after waiting for 26 minutes) the indifferent employee that managed to get of her butt to answer the phone basically said ‘we don’t care it’s your responsibility to contact us’. I am not going to dispute the fact that this information is available in documents that the DMV produces or the title of our vehicles. What really annoys me is that the MVA did forward our driving licenses to the DMV and they did know that we no longer live in Virgina. How do I come to this conclusion? Nothing happened to me. My license is clean, no suspensions, nothing. Why my wife then? I didn’t inform them either if they want to stick by the letter of the law. Don’t get me wrong - I am not begging to be charged $85.00 (this is how much the DMV wants to lift the suspension - see my earlier comment about ‘desperate for money’) but if you are upholding the law, you should uphold it for everyone.

    So the long story short, we will need to wait for them to send us documentation which will arrive God knows when, pay the $85.00, wait until the DMV employees decide to actually work for a change and have the suspension lifted so that we can be insured. Now the good thing is that our insurer gave us a lead time of 50 days but I want to get this over with as soon as possible.

    I have mentioned in this post that the DMV has incompetent people and hinted that they are lazy. From personal experience - that is 100% true. Nobody should have to go through what I did to get a driver’s license (in Virginia that is). Have you ever heard of someone going to the DMV for 5 days straight only to be asked to bring a different document every time and to finally discover that all the initial documents were in perfect order. That along with the fact that I had to take the exam for the signs twice (since they did not bother to record my test results the first time around) allows me to say without a shed of doubt that there are really lazy and incompetent people working in the DMV. The branch that I am referring to is the one which is close to Eisenhower Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. Those that have gone in that branch know exactly what I am talking about.

    Anyhow, the venting is off. Lessons learned?

    • Read always carefully what people give you
    • Don’t try to get a license in Virginia :)