CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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Steve Lopez writes for the LA Times.
California is about to be hit by an aging population wave, and Steve Lopez is riding it. His column focuses on the blessings and burdens of advancing age — and how some folks are challenging the stigma associated with older adults.
Half a year has come and gone since I first wrote about driver’s license renewal adventures for people 70 and older, but the mail keeps coming. I hear regularly from people who are confused, frustrated and angry about the process, and some of them have repeatedly flunked tests despite spotless driving records. On Friday afternoon, even the DMV acknowledged this mess, and a spokesperson told me the agency is working on some fixes, which I’ll get to in a minute. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the DMV lifted the requirement that drivers over 70 had to go to an office to renew their license. When the requirement was reinstated on Jan. 1 of this year, that’s when the confusion began. To summarize the complaints that fly in over my transom, readers aren’t clear on whether you can take an online test at home, or, if you go to a DMV office for your test, whether you can take it on paper rather than on a computer.
Alysia Vinitzian, 70, a West L.A. talent coach, said she flunked twice before passing on her third try, and she recalls two “ridiculous” questions in particular. One was about how to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, “but they offered no context” regarding the specific situation. The other was about sharing the road with NEVs, with no explanation as to what an NEV is. She later learned that’s a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, like a golf cart. “There’s a cottage industry to be had in terms of coaching people to memorize all the numbers in the DMV handbook,” Vinitzian said. “They love to ask about the number of feet, the number of yards, the numbers for jail sentences.”
So why would the DMV have such a confusing set of options, and why would the in-person tests at DMV branches be harder than the eLearning course you could take without leaving home? That’s another in a long history of confounding DMV mysteries and irritations, but apparently the agency has gotten the message. Here’s what the DMV public affairs unit sent me late Friday: “The DMV has heard from seniors and others who have difficulty taking the knowledge test and knowing when they are eligible for the online test or the eLearning course. As a result, the DMV is currently revising the online driver’s license application. In 2024, our customers should see improvement in descriptions of services available, how to engage with the eLearning course or online test, and experience a smoother flow to the process. The DMV is also revising the webpage information about the knowledge test types. Those changes will be available in the coming weeks.”
https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... -continues
https://web.archive.org/web/20231015115 ... -continues

The LATs links have more stories.

IIHS links:
https://www.iihs.org/topics/older-drivers
https://www.iihs.org/topics/older-drive ... laws-table

My last renewal was just mailed to me, but next year I have to go into DMV.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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papajim2jordan wrote: Sun Oct 15, 2023 9:05 am Driving is such a large part of a one's independence it's no wonder people get angry. I have a CDL and need a physical every two years to keep it, but no demonstration of wheel skill or PMCS. Poor drivers come in all ages.

Yup we're of the generations that couldn't wait to get our CDL, because it was independenceand we had family responsibilities. In my family the younger drivers took grandparents shopping and to medical appmts, because my parents worked. Younger generations now are more into tech things and using Uber and Lyft to get around, they get their CDLs later in life if at all.

As of April of this year, the oldest driver in the US is 109 years of age and he lives in New Jersey.
https://news.yahoo.com/man-109-still-dr ... ce%201945.

I agree that poor drivers come in all ages. Teens and early 20s for males used to have the highest insurance rates.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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I was a mess in my youth when it came to driving - think I had 19 moving violations and seven minor wrecks before I was 20 yo. On the other hand, my terrible skills paid off later in life when I was living/working in Manila Philippines, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Peru/Bolivia or any place where drivers must show how macho they are. Traffic circles in Manila were like destruction derbies. Today, I'm a milquetoast driver. LOL
"Being Republican is more than a difference of opinion - it's a character flaw." "COVID can fix STUPID!"
The greatest, most aggrieved mistake EVER made in USA was electing DJT as POTUS.

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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In most states, a CDL is a Chauffer Driving License, for driving trucks, taxis, etc. Just like my "M" on the endorsements on my DL means I'm legally allowed to drive a motorcycle. I will be 70 in less than 2 years and every written driver's test I've ever taken I've gotten 100%. But if the Cali study guide doesn't, one way or another, cover all the questions on the test, it's plainly unfair.
"Even if the bee could explain to the fly why pollen is better than shit, the fly could never understand."

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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Sorry, we should have said CA DL. I can't remember when I last took a DMV written test, I've gotten extensions by mail and periodically went in to have my eyes checked. Last time I had a road/driving test was decades ago when I lived in Montana. I'll review the DMV driver's handbook before I start the renewal process online next year, I expect to pass it. CA DMV has practice tests online.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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This is a link to the CA DMV sample test questions. I took all 4 tests and I think they could have worded some questions better.
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/driver-ed ... dge-tests/

For seniors in CA the written test has 25 questions, apparently 21 are needed to pass. We'll see what CA DMV comes up with in January 2024.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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highdesert wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 9:10 am Sorry, we should have said CA DL. I can't remember when I last took a DMV written test, I've gotten extensions by mail and periodically went in to have my eyes checked. Last time I had a road/driving test was decades ago when I lived in Montana. I'll review the DMV driver's handbook before I start the renewal process online next year, I expect to pass it. CA DMV has practice tests online.
Most states, when you move in, forego a road test but make you take a written test so you show you know that state's particular laws. For example: Driving without insurance in Virginia is a fine and points, but in NJ and NY you lose your license for a year (unless you have a good lawyer). In NY, Right Turn on Red is allowed, but not in New York City. New Jersey and Oregon requires that only a gas attendant can dispense gas--you can't touch the pump.

For motorcycles, Cali allows lane-splitting, but few states do. Some states require a helmet, others don't. And sometimes, the damn test is just plain WRONG! I think it was Kentucky that said you shouldn't use the front brake--when 70% of your braking force is in the front!

And, of course, the laws for carrying firearms in your vehicle vary from state to state as well--but that's not usually in the written test! The last written tests I took were here in NJ in 1993 (I had to take both the driver's and motorcycle written tests). Even then, they were on a computer and as soon as you got correct the minimum # of questions it ended.
"Even if the bee could explain to the fly why pollen is better than shit, the fly could never understand."

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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YankeeTarheel wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:50 pm
highdesert wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 9:10 am Sorry, we should have said CA DL. I can't remember when I last took a DMV written test, I've gotten extensions by mail and periodically went in to have my eyes checked. Last time I had a road/driving test was decades ago when I lived in Montana. I'll review the DMV driver's handbook before I start the renewal process online next year, I expect to pass it. CA DMV has practice tests online.
Most states, when you move in, forego a road test but make you take a written test so you show you know that state's particular laws. For example: Driving without insurance in Virginia is a fine and points, but in NJ and NY you lose your license for a year (unless you have a good lawyer). In NY, Right Turn on Red is allowed, but not in New York City. New Jersey and Oregon requires that only a gas attendant can dispense gas--you can't touch the pump.

For motorcycles, Cali allows lane-splitting, but few states do. Some states require a helmet, others don't. And sometimes, the damn test is just plain WRONG! I think it was Kentucky that said you shouldn't use the front brake--when 70% of your braking force is in the front!

And, of course, the laws for carrying firearms in your vehicle vary from state to state as well--but that's not usually in the written test! The last written tests I took were here in NJ in 1993 (I had to take both the driver's and motorcycle written tests). Even then, they were on a computer and as soon as you got correct the minimum # of questions it ended.
I read that as of August 4th you can now pump your own gas in Oregon, after 72 years they changed the law. So it's just New Jersey. I'm not a fan of motorcycle lane splitting, but certain lobbies are powerful in CA and keep it legal.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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highdesert wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 7:21 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 5:50 pm
highdesert wrote: Mon Oct 16, 2023 9:10 am Sorry, we should have said CA DL. I can't remember when I last took a DMV written test, I've gotten extensions by mail and periodically went in to have my eyes checked. Last time I had a road/driving test was decades ago when I lived in Montana. I'll review the DMV driver's handbook before I start the renewal process online next year, I expect to pass it. CA DMV has practice tests online.
Most states, when you move in, forego a road test but make you take a written test so you show you know that state's particular laws. For example: Driving without insurance in Virginia is a fine and points, but in NJ and NY you lose your license for a year (unless you have a good lawyer). In NY, Right Turn on Red is allowed, but not in New York City. New Jersey and Oregon requires that only a gas attendant can dispense gas--you can't touch the pump.

For motorcycles, Cali allows lane-splitting, but few states do. Some states require a helmet, others don't. And sometimes, the damn test is just plain WRONG! I think it was Kentucky that said you shouldn't use the front brake--when 70% of your braking force is in the front!

And, of course, the laws for carrying firearms in your vehicle vary from state to state as well--but that's not usually in the written test! The last written tests I took were here in NJ in 1993 (I had to take both the driver's and motorcycle written tests). Even then, they were on a computer and as soon as you got correct the minimum # of questions it ended.
I read that as of August 4th you can now pump your own gas in Oregon, after 72 years they changed the law. So it's just New Jersey. I'm not a fan of motorcycle lane splitting, but certain lobbies are powerful in CA and keep it legal.
Most states allow 2 motorcycles to share a lane, but not a MC and a car.
"Even if the bee could explain to the fly why pollen is better than shit, the fly could never understand."

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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highdesert wrote: Sun Oct 15, 2023 9:36 am
papajim2jordan wrote: Sun Oct 15, 2023 9:05 am Driving is such a large part of a one's independence it's no wonder people get angry. I have a CDL and need a physical every two years to keep it, but no demonstration of wheel skill or PMCS. Poor drivers come in all ages.

Yup we're of the generations that couldn't wait to get our CDL, because it was independenceand we had family responsibilities. In my family the younger drivers took grandparents shopping and to medical appmts, because my parents worked. Younger generations now are more into tech things and using Uber and Lyft to get around, they get their CDLs later in life if at all.

As of April of this year, the oldest driver in the US is 109 years of age and he lives in New Jersey.
https://news.yahoo.com/man-109-still-dr ... ce%201945.

I agree that poor drivers come in all ages. Teens and early 20s for males used to have the highest insurance rates.
May we all live that long and be doing as well if/when we reach that age.

This is what I mean regarding California, sometimes. The officials there just seem to want to make things more difficult, as long as it's not for themselves. I don't necessarily have a problem with driving tests, but I do have a problem with A.) unfair tests (e. g. I didn't know what an "NEV" was either), and B.) and making them more difficult to take. Here in Virginia, it seems like it's considerably easier than California.
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Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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CowboyT wrote: Wed Oct 18, 2023 10:45 am
highdesert wrote: Sun Oct 15, 2023 9:36 am
papajim2jordan wrote: Sun Oct 15, 2023 9:05 am Driving is such a large part of a one's independence it's no wonder people get angry. I have a CDL and need a physical every two years to keep it, but no demonstration of wheel skill or PMCS. Poor drivers come in all ages.

Yup we're of the generations that couldn't wait to get our CDL, because it was independenceand we had family responsibilities. In my family the younger drivers took grandparents shopping and to medical appmts, because my parents worked. Younger generations now are more into tech things and using Uber and Lyft to get around, they get their CDLs later in life if at all.

As of April of this year, the oldest driver in the US is 109 years of age and he lives in New Jersey.
https://news.yahoo.com/man-109-still-dr ... ce%201945.

I agree that poor drivers come in all ages. Teens and early 20s for males used to have the highest insurance rates.
May we all live that long and be doing as well if/when we reach that age.

This is what I mean regarding California, sometimes. The officials there just seem to want to make things more difficult, as long as it's not for themselves. I don't necessarily have a problem with driving tests, but I do have a problem with A.) unfair tests (e. g. I didn't know what an "NEV" was either), and B.) and making them more difficult to take. Here in Virginia, it seems like it's considerably easier than California.
Basics that don't seem to get taught anymore.

Basics.

When you add an acronym or abbreviation in a writing the first time you always include the full name or an explanation in parenthesis.

Basics. If they use NEV (Not Everyone's Version) and do not explain what it means then it is their error.

Why can we not expect the people creating rules, regulations, tests to at least know and followed the simplest most basic fundamentals.

God we are surrounded by willful ignorance and willful deceit.
To be vintage it must be older than me!
The next gun I buy will be the next to last gun I ever buy. PROMISE!
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Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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TrueTexan wrote: Wed Oct 18, 2023 11:27 am This is just age discrimination.
Well, I stipulate that it is age-driven. But it's not discrimination. When we attain geezer status such as I have, we are not as spunky or quick as we used to be--though we totally believe we're the same as we were when we were forty. Or fifty. We're not. Because belief is easy, we'll jump up and down saying we're still good. But facts, being stubborn things, show that drivers over 70 should be scrutinized more closely, as we collect all kinds of visual and cognitive challenges. If scrutiny detects troubles, we have to comply. If not, we're good till next time.

One problem with this, though, is there aren't enough options for transport for old farts who need occasional rides across town. Just testing is not enough. Needs to be a GeezerMoBile service that's affordable. I'd use it.

CDFingers
Crazy cat peekin' through a lace bandana
like a one-eyed Cheshire, like a diamond-eyed Jack

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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This thread started with a column by Steve Lopez, one of the few really good columnists left at
the LA Times. He's received complaint after complaint from drivers over age 70 trying to renew their driving licenses.
When it comes to the California DMV, is this a case of brand new year, same old tune? It’s a positive sign that the massive bureaucracy’s director has been checking out reader complaints about the license renewal process for drivers after age 70, and here’s a news bulletin: He’s even tossing out some of the crazy test questions that many of you have been griping about.
In November, I was a guest on Larry Mantle’s AirTalk program at KPCC [Pasadena Community College], along with [DMV director Steve] Gordon, and I expected him to push back. But that’s not what happened. “I think Steve raises some valid points, and I really have appreciated his reporting on this,” he said.
Gordon was a successful Silicon Valley tech executive who didn’t need the job he took in 2019, but after standing in an hours-long DMV line in San Jose, he was encouraged by his wife to be a fixer rather than a complainer. At the time, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the agency’s technology “byzantine” and acknowledged that Californians were legitimately “outraged” by soul-sapping DMV encounters. Then he chucked Gordon into the gaping jaws of the merciless bureaucratic beast. I caught up with Gordon and Deputy Director Anita Gore a few days ago, and we talked for nearly an hour. He said he has visited every one of the state’s 180 DMV offices to watch and to listen, and that he even reads mail from consumers with complaints or suggestions. Gordon said there’s still a long way to go in reshaping the DMV, but he touted the agency’s progress in reducing waiting times and making it easier to take care of routine tasks, like license renewal, online rather than in person.

So what does this mean for people who need to renew after age 70, as I’ll have to do this year in October? One of my biggest complaints has been that license-renewal options were not clearly laid out by the DMV on its website or elsewhere. Before the pandemic, drivers 70 and older were required to renew their licenses in person. That requirement was suspended until January of 2023, when confusion reigned . A lot of people were under the impression they had no choice but to renew their licenses with an in-person knowledge test, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. The DMV was doing a lousy job of clarifying several options and who was eligible for each. “I looked at it again today,” he said, “and there were like, five things I want to change on it already.” My advice to readers is that when you get your renewal notice, go online to begin the process and opt for eLearning if you’re eligible (you don’t qualify if you have more than one point on your record for moving violations).
Another important development is that new legislation by Assemblyman Mike Gipson (D-Carson) could make it possible for you to avoid an in-person DMV license renewal visit all the way up to age 80. Details are still being worked out by DMV staff, but under the same legislation, you might also be able to send in clearance from your eye doctor rather than do an in-person vision test. As for test questions, more than 20 have been removed from the rotation. One asked what a driver should do when seeing a road sign that says “NEV USE ONLY” or “NEV ROUTE.” Readers had complained to me that they didn’t know what NEV means (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, or golf cart), or couldn’t imagine the issue comes into play often enough to waste space on a license renewal test. Another question, now removed, had asked: “What is another name for the hand-to-hand steering method?” I’m still not sure why anyone would know or care. Also shredded was a question asking the minimum manslaughter sentence for killing someone while evading police pursuit, and another that asked what the punishment is if you “evade a law enforcement officer performing their duties, but no bodily injury occurs.” By the way, Gordon said on the radio show in November that he’s happy to hear opinions on what other questions should be slashed. You know where to find me, and I know where to find him.
https://www.latimes.com/california/stor ... a-headache

Just got my CA DMV license renewal notice, so I'll let you know how it goes.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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So mine expired in December. I had to go in for a new picture and eye test. Renewal form said I needed an appointment. So about 2 weeks before it expired I got online to make an appointment. Checked the two closest offices and available times were about 3 weeks out. Oh well, being the scofflaw I am, I went about a week with an expired license.

What the appointment got me is when I arrived I skirted the line out the door and got to stand in an "Appointments Only" line of about 4 people. I had arrived about 20 minutes early and the line was about 5 minutes. After getting initial paperwork I sat in the lobby waiting for my number to be called. 20 - 30 minutes later they called my number and it took a couple of minutes there, then off to stand in line for the photo for about another 10 minutes. They said my new license would be mailed in 2 to 3 weeks.

So, for California and Los Angeles area DL renewal I would suggest start looking at appointments about 4 weeks out and it's fine to arrive early as the only advantage is skipping the long line for a short one. You will still sit in the lobby and contemplate why your call number is C049 and there are C042, B061, H072, and A031 up on the screen. Oh, and I got the Real ID a couple years ago so that didn't affect my visit.

ETA:
And I'm not over 70, close though.

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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BKinzey wrote: Sat Jan 13, 2024 12:56 pm So mine expired in December. I had to go in for a new picture and eye test. Renewal form said I needed an appointment. So about 2 weeks before it expired I got online to make an appointment. Checked the two closest offices and available times were about 3 weeks out. Oh well, being the scofflaw I am, I went about a week with an expired license.

What the appointment got me is when I arrived I skirted the line out the door and got to stand in an "Appointments Only" line of about 4 people. I had arrived about 20 minutes early and the line was about 5 minutes. After getting initial paperwork I sat in the lobby waiting for my number to be called. 20 - 30 minutes later they called my number and it took a couple of minutes there, then off to stand in line for the photo for about another 10 minutes. They said my new license would be mailed in 2 to 3 weeks.

So, for California and Los Angeles area DL renewal I would suggest start looking at appointments about 4 weeks out and it's fine to arrive early as the only advantage is skipping the long line for a short one. You will still sit in the lobby and contemplate why your call number is C049 and there are C042, B061, H072, and A031 up on the screen. Oh, and I got the Real ID a couple years ago so that didn't affect my visit.

ETA:
And I'm not over 70, close though.

Congrats BK ! My local DMV is in a very rural area and when I stopped to pick up a copy of the Driver's Handbook (DMV regs) recently, it was almost deserted. I have Real ID so glad to know it's not affected. I might try doing the online knowledge test, I've always taken it at DMV. Seniors have 25 questions on the knowledge test and they have to correctly answer 21, others have 46 questions and have to answer 38 correctly in CA. I'll see if it's actually improved.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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I completed my drivers license renewal today at my local CA DMV. It's located in BFE, three towns east and out in the desert in a small strip mall. I started about a month ago online and completed the renewal application. I paid the fees online $45.90 and took the "knowledge test" online using e-learning starting this last Monday. E-learning is a series of 7 units which are videos and tests at the end of each unit. It's very interactive and you can start and stop it. I started this last Monday a holiday and the DMV servers kept dropping my connection, so I restarted about 4 am on Tuesday morning and completed it while having breakfast. I made an appointment online for this morning.

The DMV office was packed today, but it was an efficient process and I was there about 7 minutes. The tech was very very happy that I did everything online, so he did the vision check, took my picture and I was out the door. California is fucked up in many ways, but they finally got DMV organized at least my "local" one.

Forgot to add that I have a REAL ID DL and because nothing changed (same address...) my new license will also be REAL ID.
Last edited by highdesert on Fri Feb 23, 2024 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Cognizant that a lot of drivers have diminished capacity as they age (my wife and I have parents who are not allowed to drive due to age-related memory and cognitive issues, for example), but wanting to not be ageist, I've been saying for YEARS that driver licenses should be like pilot's licenses, with requirements for continuing education and periodic retesting (every two years? every four?) from the time one's first license is issued.

Yes, it would be expensive, and, yes, I would expect to pay for CE hours and retesting myself and expect others to do the same.

Would it help lower the crash rate in this country? I hope so. It wouldn't raise it. Given that the fatality rate for our roads is over 30,000 people annually, and the number of lives permanently altered is much higher, it would be great to have fewer crashes.
Eventually I'll figure out this signature thing and decide what I want to put here.

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The overall crash rate per 100,000 licensed drivers steadily decreases as driver age increases. The same trend is generally true regarding the fatal crash rate, with the exception of an increase among 75 and older drivers.
https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehic ... of-driver/

Some 75 and older drivers have medical conditions that under 75 don't have and they can complicate injuries suffered in auto accidents.

CA and some other states approve driver improvement classes for 55 and older drivers and some insurance carriers reduce premiums for taking the classes.
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicle-i ... -programs/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: CA seniors over 70 at war with the DMV.

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Wino wrote: Fri Feb 23, 2024 12:28 pm I'm for 'Constitutional Drivers License' ! If we can arm dumb fucks, we can give license to old fucks.
Is that aka "permitless driving" ? That would reduce CA's budget by closing 222 facilities and laying off approximately 9,019 employees. Probably a similar number in Texas. A lot more people own a motor vehicle which is a "lethal weapon", than own firearms.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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