2008-06-26 / Editorial

Time to scrap the state's DMV


File this editorial under the State Government Rants and Raves category.

Why are we funding a state government bureaucracy that operates under the mistaken assumption that we, the public, are working for them - instead of the other way around?

The state Department of Motor Vehicles is a futile waste of taxpayer money. My family has made four trips to the DMV to obtain a registration and title for a small boat trailer that's worth about $400. Each time the individuals behind the DMV counter have had a different reason why a registration cannot be issued.

We've collectively spent about 10 hours waiting in line at the DMV office in Mi ddletown to fi nd frus tration followed by more frustration.

The trailer, which came with a small sailing dinghy, was purchased out-of-state. We had the previous owner's title and the bill-of-sale. We were told no Rhode Island registration could be issued without proof that the trailer was registered in the previous state. The DMV person also mentioned that one should never buy anything from out-of-state.

So we get the first owner to send us a copy of his registration. That person had almost thrown it away because the boat and trailer had been sold. Then my wife went back to the DMV armed with the required paperwork and she was told that I had to present the documents because my name was on the bill-of-sale.

So I go back to the DMV and I am told no license can be issued because the bill of sale did not meet their specifications. Ho wever, th e DM V pe rson sa id th at next time anyone could bring back the paperwork.

I then send my 17-year-old daughter (who gets to sail the boat) back to the DMV with the revised paperwork and she is told that a copy of the previous owner's registration was not good enough. Now the DMV wants the original, which no longer exists.

A huge amount of time has been wasted and the trailer is still not registered. Charge me the sales tax and registration fee and let's move on! I've lived in three other states - Indiana, New York and Ohio. Those states were a breeze when it came to dealing with their departments of motor vehicles. Why must Rhode Island be so difficult?

I could also rant about how it took three trips to the local DMV in Rhode Island to get a driver's license for my daughter. Another seven hours of frustration.

Of course when one shares the DMV tales with fellow Rhode Islanders it seems that just about everyone has their own DMV horror stories. Why do we allow this to continue?

It's time to scrap the DMV and outsource the whole thing to private business. We cannot balance the state budget. Without doubt the DMV system could be run more efficiently an d sa ve th e st ate mo ney.

- Jeff McDonough

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