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Author Topic: Getting a DL in Alabama
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I am a nervous wreck right now. My 16 YO daughter has gone off with her Mom to attempt to take (and pass) her driving test.

Now the complaint part is the way they run things in our county. We are a county of almost 150,000 people, yet we have ONE (count em', ONE) DL examiner for the county. It is so bad they won't even answer the phone over at the DL department. And yes, as far as I know, we have to "do it" at OUR county court house and not any adjacent ones (of course, they may be no better). So the plan is to arrive EARLY in the morning at the courthouse, get your name on the list, and hope he gets to you before the end of the day. You can't leave, you can't use the bathroom (the idea being that if he calls your name while you are "out of the room", you lose your place in line), you must stay in line all day. If he does not get to you by the end of the day, too bad, it all starts over again the next day. I am not sure if the list re-starts each day or if those that were not done on day A get to be first on day A+1. My daughter tells me of kids in her class taking several days of waiting to be able to take the test. She told me that some of her classmates camped out at the courthouse OVERNIGHT just to get on the early part of the list (just to understand, the courthouse is where they have THE JAIL). Their attitude is very much, "We are the only DL group in the county, we don't have to play nice...". I guess that is one way to cut down on the number of teenage drivers, but really....

Note that today is my wife's day to stay with our kid. If she doesn't get it done today, I will get to stay with her all day on Friday.

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
glass papaya
Jingle Bell Hock


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Wow, and I thought it was bad in my county. [Eek!]

Hang in there, Doug! [Smile]

Posts: 544 | From: Onalaska, WI | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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We have a few examiners at our DMV, but one is well known to fail 16 year olds the first two times they take the test. Seriously. Fortunately we make appointments in PA so we don't have to sit around all day waiting for our kid's turn to fail and then have to go through it again -- maybe twice. And we can go to any DMV in the state. Many parents have told me they took their kids to the next county just to avoid The Failer.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pirateslife
Deck the Malls


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Wow. When I got my DL, it wasn't nearly that horrible. Tennessee makes it much easier for teens to get their DLs; especially if they take Driver's Ed and pass.
Vibes for you and your family getting lucky with the list.

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If the world were logical, men would ride sidesaddle. -Mama

I won't ask "Am I weird?" because that ship sailed long ago. -Kahuna Burger

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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She is a good driver (for being 16 and all), so that part does not bother me. I just know that if I had to stand around all day to take "the test", I would get nervous...

If she does need to go with me on Friday, I just hope I can play the part of the calm, cool Daddy, and not the nevous wreck I really am.

BTW, I will pass on any news I hear...

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dr. Dave
Frosty the Pitchman


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Wow. In Maryland, there is at least one MVA office in each county, two in larger counties, and it is separate from the court house. And, one can go to any MVA (full service) office that offers it in the state for a driving test. (We have express offices for renewals and whatnot.) Are you sure you cannot go elsewhere? Even a drive across the state might work out better than the mess you describe.
Posts: 400 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Dave:
Wow. In Maryland, there is at least one MVA office in each county, two in larger counties, and it is separate from the court house. And, one can go to any MVA (full service) office that offers it in the state for a driving test. (We have express offices for renewals and whatnot.) Are you sure you cannot go elsewhere? Even a drive across the state might work out better than the mess you describe.

It may come to that. Right now, solid information is hard to come by. They won't answer their phone AND they won't talk to you if you go into the courthouse ("too busy to deal with people"). Everything I "know" so far is almost FOAF type stuff (FOMK, friend of my kid). My wife just went with her this morning (yet to hear from them), so we should know more sometime today.

It is difficult enough for a kid to get the DL, they really should not make it a hazing incident.

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Max_Renn
Jingle Bell Hock


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That's a ridiculous situation, Doug. You have my sympathies. Governmental monopolies that seem to pride themselves on their inconvenience...the folks who designed that system have a special place reserved for them in hell.

I've had to take the driver's test twice so far, once here in Ontario when I was 16 and first got my licence, and once when I loved to L.A. so I could get a Californian permit. That one's fun, they take you right out onto a busy Burbank freeway. Still, I'd been driving for five years by then so the driving part wasn't a problem, and I squeaked by on the written. I knew a guy who failed his test the first time before he'd even pulled out of the lot; it was raining, the window fogged up and he couldn't find the defrost fast enough.

The "travel to another part of the state" plan sounds like a good one for your situation, but it brought to mind something from my neck of the woods. My grandfather (who ultimately had to have his licence taken away when dementia began setting in) had a friend who was legally blind, but whose wife was in the hospital. At that time in Ontario (and possibly now, I have no idea) you had to take the driving test every year once you hit 70 years. This friend wanted to keep his licence to visit his wife, so my grandpa would drive him once a year to some one-streetlight tiny town in the Ottawa Valley where the testing route was ridiculously easy. The way the guy drove was pretty much "count to three and hang a right" yet he managed to pass the test every year. Utterly terrifying that he was out on the streets, no matter how little he actually drove.

Max "duck and cover" Renn

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Sister Ann: DRIVE! DRIVE
Crow T. Robot: Look, I'm already driving, there's no inherent quantity of driving that I can increase! If you want me to go faster, you should say so.

Posts: 579 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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We're really lucky in Indiana. The state allows certified driving schools to administer the road test for their students. (There are special certifications that the school and the instructor have to complete to be able to administer it). So not only do the kids get to use the driving school car that they've been used to, they get an instructor that they're comfortable with. My daughter got her favorite instructor to administer her test and it helped her immensely. Good thing too, poor thing was a nervous wreck. She was so nervous going up to the school for it that she cut the side a little close backing out of the garage and whacked the side mirror (a common occurance with all of us, it's a tight fit in the garage with both vehicles and if you don't line up just right...), broke into tears and Mr. Gibbie had to take over and drive her to the test. But once she saw who the instructor was she relaxed and passed on the first try.

After they pass the driving test with the school instructor they have to take and pass the written test at the BMV, then they are licensed. We have four BMV offices in my city and nearly no waiting. We were in and out in under an hour. Easy peezy.

You should move to Indiana Doug. [Smile]

Gibbie

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If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

Posts: 3993 | From: Indiana | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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This is pretty much how it worked when I got my license. We had 20,000 people in the county and one examiner. The thing was that we shared him with 4 other counties, so he was only at our courthouse one day a week. If you failed, you had to wait a week to take the test again. If they didn't get to you, you had to wait a week to try again. You had to wait for it to be your turn -- no appointments. They did give you some idea of how far along the list they were so you could risk going away for a few minutes (bathroom breaks, for example) until they got close to your name. People showed up early in the morning and waited for the office to open in order to try and be first on the list. It was a nightmare.

The day I got my license was a nightmare. We had to provide our own vehicle for the test and the one my father had me use hadn't been driven much for the past few months. We drove down really early and waited for them to open. Once I was on the list, he called his store and had someone come down to pick him up and take him to work. He told me to call him to pick me up if I failed and call him from the house if I passed. I waited a few hours and then it was finally close to my turn.

The procedure was that the next few people in line were to go out and wait by their vehicle for the trooper (tests were given by a state trooper). When I went out to wait at my truck, I discovered the battery was dead and my father didn't have any jumper cables in the truck. I frantically called him and he sent a mechanic from his store with cables to jump start the truck. I sweated away the mintues before the mechanic got there hoping the trooper took his time with the people before me (when I'd been horribly impatient just minutes before). Once the truck was started, I just sat there with it running hoping the trooper would be understanding about the mechanical problem. Fortunately, he was and I passed with flying colors.

I had to leave the truck running in front of the courthouse (with the doors locked) while I went inside to get my license. Then I drove home, had lunch with my father. He took that truck to get a new battery and I was given his old Blazer to drive. I went to school that afternoon basked in the glory of being the first person in my group of friends to have a license and a vehicle.

As a postscript, I went driving around that evening with a friend. We stopped at a store for something. When we got back out to the blazer, the battery was dead. [flame]

Posts: 716 | From: San Antonio, TX | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I just got a call from my eldest....

She is now an official driver! She passed the test with a 90%. Evidently, it was a slow day and she got in before lunch. I am happy for her.


Oh wait, that means I have a 16 YO driver in my family [Eek!] . I have to call my insurance agent [Eek!] .

I may be a bit sick.....

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Oh yea. If not now, then certainly after you call the insurance agent.

Ours *more* than doubled. Thank goodness she's a girl! And that good grade discount thing? Not any more, at least that's what Progressive told us.

But yay for Dougette!

Gibbie

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If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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glass papaya
Jingle Bell Hock


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Yay!

This is when I really started to appreciate cell phones. I have three teenage drivers, and every day when they leave the house, "Do you have your phone?" comes right before "Drive safely," and then "Have a great day!"

Posts: 544 | From: Onalaska, WI | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by glass papaya:
This is when I really started to appreciate cell phones. I have three teenage drivers, and every day when they leave the house, "Do you have your phone?" comes right before "Drive safely," and then "Have a great day!"

Yep. The cell phone will become part of her standard issue driving equipment...

This whole thing is hitting me quite hard. I swear it was only yesterday I took a 4 lbs. baby (with no butt) home from the hospital. Now she is driving. Man, I feel old.

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
glass papaya
Jingle Bell Hock


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Wait til the first time she has to call for your rescue, then you won't feel so old. My oldest had to do this the first day she had her license. "Daddy, the car won't start!"

She had left the lights on and killed the battery. [fish]

Edit because I don't know what a ballery would be.

Posts: 544 | From: Onalaska, WI | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MattG
I Saw Three Shipments


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It took me I kid you not 5 years to get my license here and I went like 3 counties over (Somerset for you PA people) to take it because that is where the driving school wanted me to take it, the course was easy, the examiner was very nice, good luck Doug I'm 22 and paying through the nose on insurance and its gonna sky rocket come June.
Posts: 61 | From: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
bthyb
WiFi Christmas


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It would be great to have better DMV services, probably in most every state...but would you be willing to pay higher taxes to make this a reality?

If you are willing, then great - I just see so many people wanting lower taxes, but then being unhappy with the current state of public services.

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If you say you love ice cream, you better be dreaming of an orgy with Ben, Jerry, and one fine-ass chunky monkey.

-- My sister and poet extraordinaire, Joanna Hoffman

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by bthyb:
It would be great to have better DMV services, probably in most every state...but would you be willing to pay higher taxes to make this a reality?

If you are willing, then great - I just see so many people wanting lower taxes, but then being unhappy with the current state of public services.

True, our state just about tops the list in "no taxes, period!" rants. We have almost the lowest tax rate in the nation, yet our politicians are always talking about cutting taxes (and people demand that they do). Then people here wonder why our education system is the pits. Or why our roads suck. Or why there is only one DMV person per county.

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Wolf333
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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/Slight Hijack/

What is the deal with some drivers tests? When my ex recieved her license (she was 20 at the time) we lived in North Carolina, and the driving test was pretty much useless, as far as judging your driving abilities.

The test consisted of: leave the DMV parking lot, make a right turn, proceed to stop sign, make a right turn, proceed to stop sign, make a right turn, proceed about 1/4 mile, make a 3 point turn, drive in reverse (in a straight line) for 100 feet, return to DMV (making all left turns). None of the roads had any traffic (there was nothing in that area except the DMV) and the speed limit was 35 MPH. It took about 15 minutes. She failed the first attempt, due to the backing up 100 feet, but we went to the same area one weekend and just re-ran the course over and over.

My test, on the other hand, lasted almost an hour. I had to merge onto an interstate highway, leave the highway, drive through both a residential area (with a shool district) and a business district. I then had to finish with pulling into a parking space, backing into a parking space and a parallel parking test (which I failed the first time). I did eveything almost perfectly (I did speed a bit on the highway, costing some points) but failed the parallel parking. Luckily, at that time, I only had to redo the part that I had failed.

And back to the OP...
My ex had the same situation as your daughter; the tests were delivered by the same examiner on a first come, first serve basis.

My test was by appointment; we arrived at the DMV, signed a couple of forms, and my test began.

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"We take evil really seriously"

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Island Manta
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Huzzah for Dougette.

Wanna hear wierd? here in the VI it took me pretty much $100 to get my license here. They do not administer the 'eye test' at the DMV. You have to pay $2 for a medical form and take it to a Dr.

I had a valid stateside license, so after paying $10 to take the written test, I found out the machines were broken so I didn't have to take the test. One of the questions on the test is "How long can you stop in the road to talk to someone? - the correct answer is "a while".....

Then I paid $35 for the exact license. When they used this fancy computer to take my picture, printed the card out....they then handwrote the number in a HUGE log. SHould one lose their license and NOT have their DL# then it's very hard for them to find the record.

Yes, you read me right....their records aren't computerized.

Welcome to *my* world [Wink]

-k

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"You never know when you will be attacked by a wild tortilla" - José Zavala
"Happiness isn't happiness without a violin playing goat"
Be good and you will be lonesome

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Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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My wife told me there were actually TWO driving examiners, so it was not as bad as we first thought. Now what was different was they required she have our insurace card and registration. Now this was not listed anywhere in the courthouse. They found out when the kid about 2-3 people ahead were turned away and my wife overheard the parent and kid say something like, "If we KNEW we needed the insurace card & registration...". So my wife ran out to the car and got the card and registration form.

So there was still some "excitment".

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And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Donovan
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by bthyb:
It would be great to have better DMV services, probably in most every state...but would you be willing to pay higher taxes to make this a reality?

If you are willing, then great - I just see so many people wanting lower taxes, but then being unhappy with the current state of public services.

True, our state just about tops the list in "no taxes, period!" rants. We have almost the lowest tax rate in the nation, yet our politicians are always talking about cutting taxes (and people demand that they do). Then people here wonder why our education system is the pits. Or why our roads suck. Or why there is only one DMV person per county.
|Hijack| And our state is one of the few that still charges full sales taxes on food. |/hijack|

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Illius me paenitet, dux (Latin for fun and business)

"It's like trying to hawk pork chops at a kosher PETA banquet." - Esprise Me

Posts: 429 | From: Alabama | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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