The logic of Bureaucracy

Prolog: In the State of Nevada, it is legal to use a mailing address on your Driver’s License and vehicle registration. You are required to tell the DMV (who will tell the cops if they ask) what your physical address is, however, what is displayed on your license and vehicle registration slip can be, for example, a PO Box. I use such an arrangement.

In early September, as a part of my closing my business and several other personal events, I changed my physical address for both my Drivers License and my truck’s registration. Now, I kept the same PO Box address that I have used for like 3 presidential terms – so as far as the DMV mailing me anything: that never changed. Only the background information for the physical address was altered. This was done online.


It just so happened that my drivers license was set to expire the 29th of the month. I made this change on the 3th. Approximately the 12th of September I received a new Drivers License in my mailbox. It was 100% identical except in tiny, tiny print on the right side is an issue date. This date was changed from 5/4/9 to 9/3/13. Same picture, same personal details, same everything but this miniature date: which most people don’t even know is on their ID.

On the 27th, I finally got to the DMV to renew my license. I had hoped I could do it online or at one of the Kiosks that are located in grocery and department stores around the city – but the renewal was marked for “In Office Only”. Not sure why. I have NO accidents, NO tickets, NO missed insurance, NO nothing that should irritate the DMV folks.

So I arrive and tell the information counter person I have a DL renewal. She hands me a form (same form used by everyone who has never HAD a Nevada Driver’s license regardless of the fact that I have 23+ years of continuous Nevada Drivers License ownership).

I complete the form and wait 25 minutes to finally get called to a clerk to whom I hand the paperwork to. With the personality of a rock (and a small rock at that), he marked several chicken scratches on the form, punched holes in my existing license, stapled some paperwork together then asked me for $22 (which I paid) and handled me the entire stack of papers and informed me to go to the “Photo” section for a new photo and give them the paperwork.

After my photo was done, the photo-taker-person informed me my license would be mailed to me in 7-10 business days.

I am still unsure if the entire exercise as:
a) Just to get a new photo on file
b) Just to collect $22 (but I would have had to pay that anyway, so guess not)
c) Just part of the exercise to make more people go to the DMV to justify their jobs
d) Just another example of how government can take a simple process and make it more complex then is needed.

Either way – it is now done.

I will soon tackle the discussion of my Driver’s licenses are good for 4 years and you never have to retest; yet cars are good for 1 year and have to be inspected every year.

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