Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An old man waited so long to get his drivers license renewed Wednesday morning that he began to wonder if the Department of Driver Services office would be his final resting place.
We were in the same boat because we both had to wait a while. He got to the drivers service facility before me and he was still waiting to be taken care of when I left.
I had to wait at least an hour and a half but I'm in my 30s. This man looked as if he was more than twice my age. He may have been in his 70s or possibly in his early 80s.
Eventually, the old man turned to the woman at the information desk and began to joke that he could die before his number got called.
“If my heart stops beating, will you at least wheel my body over to the right window?,” he said.
Such experiences are why I dread renewing my driver’s license. However, a long wait pales in comparison to the frustrations created by new federal requirements that outline the documents you have to provide to prove your identity.
I've only had a Georgia driver’s license for nearly 20 years, but I had to bring my passport, my Social Security card, my existing license, my cell phone bill and a financial statement to prove my identity this time.
I'm surprised they didn't ask for a vial of my blood or some strands of hair.
God forbid the state and federal government remember who I am.
Now I can understand there being a desire to confirm the identity of people getting licenses, but isn't the documentation requirement a bit of overkill?
One person told me they thought the documentation requirements were in response to illegal immigration, but the requirement came from the Real ID Act of 2005. The act came out of the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission which means it is some effort to combat terrorism, according to the Georgia Department of Driver Services website.
The rules went into effect last summer.
Excuse me, but I'm a journalist, not a terrorist. I was born in Atlanta and have spent most of my life in Georgia. The state has been taking my money in the form of taxes for years and now it suddenly can't confirm who I am?
Maybe you should have to show utility bills and financial statements if you're getting your first driver's license, or changing your address, but to renew it?
Come on now. That's ridiculous.
You should only have to provide your passport (or birth certificate because you do have that option) and your Social Security card to renew your license. You already have to hand over your old license when you get it renewed.
Apparently, you get a gold star on your new driver’s license once your identity has been confirmed, which is something akin to getting a star if you behaved yourself in elementary school.
Maybe the government should behave and stop trying to act like it can't remember who I am.
I fretted at one point because the credit card statement I provided didn’t have my address on it. I had a bank statement in my car that would have be adequate to replace it, but thought I was going to have to wait another hour and a half before I could get back to a window. My heart was pounding because I did not want to wait in line again.
Fortunately, the clerk told me she could use my existing license instead and a crisis was averted.
Had luck not been on my side, I would have begun wondering if the DDS would be my final resting place.
Curt Yeomans is a Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247, via Email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CYeomansCND.