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Thread: "Driver's" licenses

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    "Driver's" licenses

    Why do we bother with driver's licenses at all?

    They're certainly not a measure of even minimal competence as a driver. You take a written (now digital) test that Forrest Gump could pass, along with (maybe) a cursory "road" test that takes place in the parking lot of the DMV. A 12-year-old could pass these tests. More to the point, adults far less competent than the average 12-year-old routinely pass these tests. They have a driver's license, alright, but calling them "drivers" is generous. The sail fawn-addled, SmoooVee doing 80 in a snowstorm, Buick in the left lane refusing to move right, double-yellow-crossing, half-blind inattentive Taco-eating marginality of the average Driver Americanus is known the world over.

    So, we do we bother with them at all? Because in the U.S., a driver's license is really an ID card. A sort of internal passport we're all compelled to carry - and produce, upon demand. It has very little to do with driving - and much to do with herding us like the cattle we've become. I go too far? Well, see how far you can go without a driver's license - even if you never get behind the wheel of a car. Banks want to see your driver's license before they'll open an account - which you need to cash your check from your employer -who won't hire you unless you produce the government-issued internal passport - which you also can't board an airplane without and do many other things besides.

    All of which have exactly zilch to do with operating a motor vehicle.

    Of course, it was the Germans who invented the "driver's" license. (Stifle the PC outrage; your angry correspondent is as ethnically Volkdeutsch as sauerkraut.)

    The first one was issued to Karl Benz for his Motorwagen in 1888 - and like so many other not-so-great ideas from the Fatherland it migrated to the Homeland not too many years later.

    The Germans have a DNA-encoded fetish for controlling things - including other humans. Again, stifle the PC outrage. I understand the German mindset because I grew up within in it and am plagued by it myself. It takes an everyday act of will to remind myself that other people are not my playthings and that they have as much right to do as they please - provided they're not harming anyone, of course - as I do.

    Anyhow.

    We now have to carry around these infernal internal passports that have nothing to do with driving ability, in order for the authorities - government and corporate - to be able to identify, record and process us.

    Like the 4th Amendment and other former freedoms we've surrendered over the years, the freedom to travel thus no longer exists in this country. Even if you are on foot you can expect trouble if you cross paths with a representative of the sicherheitspolizei who - for no reason or for any reason - demands you "show me some ID" - and you don't happen to have any. Doesn't matter that you're just walking to the store (or whatever) and haven't done a thing to warrant suspicion of criminal conduct (the old standard; long since thrown in the woods). Yes, I know that technically - in some states - "the law" still says they have to have some sort of articulable probable cause. See how much that helps when the SD man is Tazering you - or worse - for "resisting" or whatever he'll say you were doing. In fact, in the real world, possessing an ID - a driver's license - is a functional necessity, not simply to transact day-to-day business but to avoid becoming the star player in the next YouTube video episode of Don't Taze Me, Bro!

    It's weird. Almost none of us question the basic of idea of being made to carry a driver's license/ID card - even as many of us have lately erupted in anger (rightly so) over the TSA low-rent porno scan n' feels.

    Maybe we ought to.

    If a driver's license were what the term implies - proof that you have shown you're competent to operate a vehicle, based on successful completion of an at-least slightly demanding driver's test in an actual car on actual roads - then, ok.

    Maybe.

    At least then, the bearer could take some pride in the same way that a college graduate or a person who holds a sharpshooter's certificate can take pride in a real achievement.

    But the "driver's" licenses almost all of us carry today are nothing more than the equivalent of the yellow tags you see stapled into the left ears of cows. And serve the same purpose.

    Maybe it's time for the cattle to question the whole business...

  2. #2
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    Driver licenses are a piece of cake in my state. As long as you can see you can get one. If your smarter then you average bear you can pass the written exam. Here is example question. If light turns yellow should you A) stop,B) go or C) proceed with caution. I mean it's not brain surgery. That being said I fine tuned my driving skills and became a better driver by learning how to ride a motorcycle in traffic. Not much room for error there. Bottom line riding the motorcycle will make you a better and more observant car driver. However most people won't do that so in my opinion are a little better then average drivers but the best drivers like those who drive trucks and motorcycles I believe. Truckers can crush incompetents and motorcycles can get crushed by incompetents. So we both are very careful out there when driving our cars.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    Overall getting a license here in Illinois is so easy, even a dog could get one, if they had a social security card. I have only ever met one person in our local DMV to ever fail a driver of getting their license. Everyone else hands them out like candy to a kid. I have personally seen 90 year olds that cant hear their name being called even if their wife is yelling in their ear at 120 decibels to go up & get his license, and thats with both hearing aids in, and then takes him half an hour to walk the 5 feet to the counter, and then is so shaky it takes a person on each side of him to hold him up at the counter to keep him from falling over. All of this is no exaggeration. We even had an incident here in my state where a lady coming back from her road test drove half way through the DMV even hitting several people sitting in their chairs, and they still passed her. You can fail the vision test and still get a license in this state, without ever stepping foot in an eye doctor office. Proof of that is I am legally blind without my glasses on, and I can still get a license after taking their vision test with my glasses off. The one lady that does care and take her job to heart and fail people then get a bad rep and name, because she has the nerve to fail someone.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    Overall getting a license here in Illinois is so easy, even a dog could get one, if they had a social security card. I have only ever met one person in our local DMV to ever fail a driver of getting their license. Everyone else hands them out like candy to a kid. I have personally seen 90 year olds that cant hear their name being called even if their wife is yelling in their ear at 120 decibels to go up & get his license, and thats with both hearing aids in, and then takes him half an hour to walk the 5 feet to the counter, and then is so shaky it takes a person on each side of him to hold him up at the counter to keep him from falling over. All of this is no exaggeration. We even had an incident here in my state where a lady coming back from her road test drove half way through the DMV even hitting several people sitting in their chairs, and they still passed her. You can fail the vision test and still get a license in this state, without ever stepping foot in an eye doctor office. Proof of that is I am legally blind without my glasses on, and I can still get a license after taking their vision test with my glasses off. The one lady that does care and take her job to heart and fail people then get a bad rep and name, because she has the nerve to fail someone.
    I've seen this too!

    I was there about two months back, doing the title/registration paperwork for the '83 Honda.

    I saw an old lady who could literally barely walk shuffle to the counter to get her new license.

    I also saw (and overheard) a guy with obviously poor vision being coached by the person behind the DMV counter:

    "Ok, let's try the third line... there's a B and an F...."

    No shit.

    My dad had multiple minor accidents before he decided to hang it up. But the DMV didn't even ask him to come in for a vision check.

    But get a ticket for speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeding - even if you've never so much as scuffed a fender in 20 years of driving - you're the bad driver.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bikerlbf406's Avatar
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    You got that right. I don't know about in VA but here in IL they are so worried about young people getting their license, and yet someone in their age that shouldn't even walk, bit more drive, can get by with killing someone on the road and still keep their license. We actually had an incident last year to where an 86 year old woman in route to the DMV to renew her license went off road, went over 500 yards in to a field, on to the school groundes striking a child between her vehicle and the school, killing the child, and she was given nothing more then a citation for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, paying a $75 fine and still got to keep her license. I'll take a young 16 year old driver who is inexperienced over a 90 year old who can't see any time of the day.
    Tim, proud owner of 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 & 2007 Honda CMX250C Rebel


  6. #6
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    Spelling pedant: Is it Driver's or Drivers' ?

    And yes, if you can fog a mirror with your breath, you can get a license in the US.

    Chip H.

  7. #7
    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    Spelling pedant: Is it Driver's or Drivers' ?

    And yes, if you can fog a mirror with your breath, you can get a license in the US.

    Chip H.
    I'll go for;

    Driver's Licence.
    Drivers' Licences.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiph View Post
    Spelling pedant: Is it Driver's or Drivers' ?
    Over here we call it a Driving Licence!

  9. #9
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerlbf406 View Post
    Overall getting a license here in Illinois is so easy, even a dog could get one, if they had a social security card. I have only ever met one person in our local DMV to ever fail a driver of getting their license. Everyone else hands them out like candy to a kid. I have personally seen 90 year olds that cant hear their name being called even if their wife is yelling in their ear at 120 decibels to go up & get his license, and thats with both hearing aids in, and then takes him half an hour to walk the 5 feet to the counter, and then is so shaky it takes a person on each side of him to hold him up at the counter to keep him from falling over. All of this is no exaggeration. We even had an incident here in my state where a lady coming back from her road test drove half way through the DMV even hitting several people sitting in their chairs, and they still passed her. You can fail the vision test and still get a license in this state, without ever stepping foot in an eye doctor office. Proof of that is I am legally blind without my glasses on, and I can still get a license after taking their vision test with my glasses off. The one lady that does care and take her job to heart and fail people then get a bad rep and name, because she has the nerve to fail someone.

    For years CDL's were sold in Illinois. That's why Illinois Governors retire here in Indiana not too far from where I live. Usually they move in about 100 miles north at the Federal prison in Terre Haute.

    I drove a truck before I hired on at the factory where I work. I originally figured on being there a year or two and then go back to driving a truck. (I'll be there 35 years next week.) After 20 years of not using my Chauffers license, plus Indiana was instituting the CDL's, I decided to quit taking all the tests and get just a plain operators license. Instead of physical exams every two years and a written test at the same time, all I did was "read line 5 and give me $6". I think that explains the traffic we have today.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    My mother didn't drive for years and then she came into some money and she decided to get her license and buy a car. Imagine my joy when mom told me she wanted me to teach her to drive. Regardless, she signed up with a driving school and when I would go down to visit, we'd go driving. She bought a car that we got from a 75 year old woman who felt she was too old to drive. (My mother was 80 at the time.)

    I was not gentle with my mother. If I had a son and he talked like that to his mother, I'd reach over and slap him for being rude. However, I train men and women who have never operated a lift truck how to do it. Mom pulled out into traffic with a 45 mph speed limit and was going all of 20 mph. I started onto her about picking up the pace. When she said not to make her nervous, I told her getting run over by that truck would really make her nervous and to step on the loud pedal and go. (I felt about 3 inches tall talking to my mother like that but if she wanted to learn she was GOING to learn!)

    All in all, the car we bought was transfered to her name when she got her license. She didn't drive it much. I had to put three exhaust systems on it because of them rotting off from short drives. She drove until at age 88 she fell and lost her one good eye. I suspect a neighbor who was a friend of her did most of the driving her around. I watched that car like a hawk and over the 8 years she had it, it didn't pick up one scratch or dent. One time checking the maintenance log I keep in all my cars, I noticed the oil hadn't been changed in 14 months. She ran up all of 300 miles in that time.
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