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Kafka at the DMV

Via the Detroit News:

Ferndale — After pulling over a reportedly stolen car early Wednesday morning, police discovered that the driver, Renee Lashon Beavers, 33, of Detroit, had been issued 45 license suspensions from the Michigan Secretary of State.

“Actually, she has never had a driver’s license from us,” said SOS spokesman Fred Woodhams. “She definitely has a record with us, but we show that she’s never had a license.”

According to the SOS, it is possible to receive driving suspensions without ever having acquired a valid driver’s license.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, August 27th, 2009 at 3:17 pm and is filed under Traffic Culture, Traffic Enforcement. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Kafka at the DMV”

  1. Des Says:

    A friend of mine got a red light ticket on a bicycle once, and was informed that it would indeed result in demerit points. Thinking that this was grossly unfair because cyclists without licenses would be punished differently (less) than cyclists with licenses, my friend looked into the matter at the provincial insurance agency and was informed that in the case of someone not having a license, they would open a file for them so that if indeed they obtained a license within the following two years, they’d have those two demerit points to start with. Not sure about suspensions, though enough demerit points would probably add up to one. Strike one for bureaucratic consistency, I guess.

  2. Kevin Love Says:

    This actually makes sense to me. The suspension then becomes a legal prohibition from getting a license. Otherwise how would DMV know not to issue a license if Renee were to apply for one?

  3. Gary K. Says:

    How on earth is this allowed to happen. I shudder to think of what other people are out there on the road with records like that.

  4. Kevin Love Says:

    A better question is: “How did this person get out of jail?”

    In Ontario, driving without a license and offenses that result in license suspensions also involve serious jail time. Time that increases rapidly with repeat offenders. Given the normal life expectancy, 45 suspensions would not be possible.

    What is going on in Michigan?

  5. Rich Wilson Says:

    My wife was stopped by a police officer for jay walking and threatened with a ticket. (This is was a very slow moving traffic downtown touristy zone, people jay walk all the time, not sure why he targeted her). He threatened her with a ticket, and added that it would add points to her license.

    To which she replied (and she had a pretty thick accent then) “But I don’t have a license”. He gave up and left.

    I agree that adding points to a drivers license that one isn’t required to have while cycling is inane. I understand the counter argument, if you do something dumb on the road, then it applies to all modes. If that’s the case, then require everyone to get an ID to be on the street at any age, and apply it to that. Not that I’m advocating that particular idea, but at least it would be ‘fair’.

  6. murphstahoe Says:

    More evidence on my point about how the “License the Bicyclists” people are inane – you aren’t required to have a license to drive a car. You are only required to have a car and the key for said car.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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