Every 10 years residents of Massachusetts must make the pilgrimage to the DMV to renew their drivers licenses. They renew every 5 years but you don't have to come in for a new picture until you hit the 10 year mark. Ha ha-- just thinking about going to the DMV makes me laugh out loud.
Now people go for other reasons too- renew their registration every two years, register a new vehicle, etc. People do, I don't. I do everything online or my insurance company does it for me, I see no need to set foot in that beacon of government sluggishness known as the Department of Motor Vehicles.
This year marks one of those dreaded 10 year appointments but I was excited to learn I could renew my license at my local AAA office, of course this meant paying $50 a year to be a member of AAA which I was not because both my car and my auto insurance includes roadside assistance. My car is also reasonably new so I've never had to call. I decided to join AAA because they are alleged to have some travel discounts and other perks and hey, $50 is not too much to pay to NOT have to go to the Registry this year.
My birthday falls two days after Christmas but that time of year is filled with fun and revelry along with AndyPalooza which is 24-36 hours of nonstop Buffalo wings, chinese food, ham and cheese sandwiches and movies. I also hate my drivers license photo since I was about 25lbs heavier 10 years ago and anytime I have to show it I'm met with the same "Wow, you lost a lot of weight!" response so it was that I found myself at AAA in the latter half of June along with Number Two Son whose license was also set to expire at the end of the year.
Now it just so happened that a week earlier I had to drop off my paperwork for my handgun license at the PoPo so it meant more photos, proof of ID and the ability to describe myself. At the PoPo when I got to hair color I asked the assembled officers in front of me whether I should check off brown, blonde or gray and they all looked at me like I had three heads and responded "Brown!".
AAA is a nice little office and we got there about 11:30 on a Saturday, thinking we had plenty of time before they closed at 1pm. Unfortunately, we were told, if we wanted a "REAL ID" which will be required by Federal Law by 2020 we needed a few more forms of identification than we had with us. We decided to try and get the correct documents together and get back in time but we fell short. They made an exception to take us past their normal cut off time but we were only able to get Standard ID's and will have to go back before 2020 to get the REAL ID's. The Real ID's appear to be an effort by the Feds to cut back on fraud which I'm always for. If you want a Real ID (and you'll need one by 2020 whether you want one or not) you'll need to bring your current Drivers License and I'd bring two of the following:
- A US Passport
- A For Real Social Security Card that has not been laminated.
- A Utility Bill with your name and address on it.
- Current Water or Sewer Bill like above.
- Current Mortgage payment like above.
And even with the proper documents don't be shocked if you need something else too.
I forgot you have to take an eye test with the 10 year renew. Pretty easy stuff. Read the top line of type, then identify the three colors (spoiler they will involve red, yellow and green) and then looking straight ahead at a little white dot see if you see the flashing dot in your peripheral vision.
In all, a very smooth experience and well worth the $50 to avoid the Hoi Poloi of the DMV and I'll be back to my local AAA in a few days with a box full of ID to get my Real one.