What's Your Worst Experience With The DMV?

Illustration for article titled What's Your Worst Experience With The DMV?

The DMV claims to be an organization designed to keep drivers educated, safe, and legal much in the same way the Democratic People's Republic of Korea claims to be a republic made up of democratic people.


The DMV is basically a giant line where you pray you only have several hundred forms to fill out. You could easily find yourself in a hellish mire of red tape keeping you from registering your perfectly functioning car. What's your worst tale of woe related to the Department of Motor Vehicles?

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Photo Credit: Omar Bárcena


Worst experience?

My first experience.

Went to take the eye test and written test for my learner's permit when I was 16. Aced the written exam. Well, it stopped me at 70% with the first 14 questions 'cause that's all I needed to pass. They had a machine to do the test for the eye exam. It was like any other eye exam, letters and numbers on a card. Read them and you pass or fail.

Well, I know my right eye is my weak eye and my left eye is my strong eye. I'm lookin' in this box and I can't see shit on the left side. Patty and Selma there behind the counter keep asking me "What do you see on the left?" I keep telling them "Nothing, it's blank, it's dark." They change slides, ask again and this goes on for 10 minutes. Finally I look up and ask them "Are you fucking serious?"

Now I went to the DMV with my driving school instructor (got a discount on my car insurance if I went to driving school). She looks in and says to Patty and Selma "Honey, there's nothing in the left screen. You machine is broken." Patty and Selma give her a look like "Trifilin' bitch! My machine ain't broke!"

They hand me my application for a learner's permit and it's stamped "DENIED" In the reason section it says "Legally blind in left eye."

I totally lost my shit and my driving instructor had to drag me out of there. She made me wait in the car and went back in to argue my case. She comes back out 15 minutes later and says "They're all fucking idiots. They want you to go to an eye doctor for proof. Even though the gawd damned machine is broken!"

Meanwhile, my sister passed her eye exam with flying colors because the machine she was at was working. So she drove home.

My mom makes an eye exam appointment for me. I go to the eye doctor and he looks at the denied form and says "What? C'mon, this is insane." So he looks in my eyes, does the tests and says "What the hell are they using down there?" I related my story and he just sighs and says "Well, here's your proof. 20/20 in your left eye and 20/40 in in your right. You are about as far from blind as it can get. The left eye is actually 20/15 but I don't want them to give you problems over THAT too. Good luck."

So we go back, I take the test again in the SAME MACHINE and it's still broken. They tell me I'm blind and I show them my eye exam documents. I said "I'm not blind! I have telescopic vision in my left eye!" (That's not necessarily correct but I was 16, what did I know) The lady behind the counter says "What do you want me to do?" My driving instructor yells "Put him on another gawd damned machine, sweetheart!"

So she does and I aced the exam, every letter, every line, absolutely correct, even read the copyright in the #4 font on the bottom of the card. Patty and Selma look at each other. One says "Damn!" They look at me and I said "Give me my permit!"

My sister got her driving permit on our birthday in the 2nd week of July. I did not get mine until the 2nd week of September.

Later, I got a letter from the DMV. It was a form letter and apparently sent out to a bunch of people who were failed for permits and licenses. They apologized for the broken exam machine, said it was now fixed and all declarations of blindness from the past 3 months were rescinded. They asked us all to come back in for a re-examination.

I called the DMV and demanded reimbursement for my eye exam fees.

They said no.