31 January 2010

Are we seeing the horrors of Florida’s new driver license requirements?

A recent Bay News 9 article came across my laptop computer regarding Florida's new driver license requirements, thanks to the federal REAL ID law. The clerks who work in the Hernando County Tax Collector's office are bearing the brunt of customers who are very unhappy due to the fact that they have to produce the multitude of paperwork needed to obtain or renew a Florida driver's license.

To those people who feel frustrated when you show up to get or renew your driver's license yet get turned away due to Florida's new requirements, I feel your pain. Yes, Florida's new driver's license requirements are a pain after I have read the horror stories from articles not only on Bay News 9 but the St. Petersburg Times and 10 Connects (WTSP-TV) and the comments that were submitted in response to these articles.

I feel there is going to be a lot of people who have had enough of Florida's tough requirements. Yes, a lot of people – including Floridians – who say enough is enough of Florida's new driver's license requirements.

  1. Going to another state and getting a driver license there (at least it was done – you can read about it as a topic over at the FlyerTalk.com forum). It depends on if the state is complying with the federal REAL ID law – at least several states have plans not to upgrade.
  2. If someone moves to Florida they will keep their out of state license and renew the out of state license (which is in violation of Florida Statutes; you are obligated to obtain a Florida driver's license within 30 days of obtaining employment or placing children in public school; however, this law I feel is rarely enforced).
  3. People whose licenses are ready to expire will not even bother to renew their drivers license due to the new requirements. Again, this is a big risk – letting your Florida driver's license expire for four months or less is an infraction while if it's over four months it becomes a misdemeanor requiring a court appearance.

I have said this before and I will say it again: Florida's new driver license requirements are dangerous in that it requires your residential street address - not your mailing address as past practice - on your license; if somehow you misplace your license and a stalker or domestic violence perpetrator finds it then your license is a goldmine as to where you live.

There are plenty of Floridians such as me who do live here and have a residential street address yet have their mail sent to a post office box for security reasons. Until the new Florida requirements became effective you could have placed your mailing address on your Florida driver's license while at the same time your residential street address is also kept on file and is accessible to law enforcement in the course of a traffic stop. That's the way it has been and it is the way it should be.

There is also another item that needs to be addressed while we're on this topic. Despite a federal law long enacted before REAL ID – the Driver Privacy Protection Act of 1994 – there is the issue of the State of Florida selling your personal information including where you live to third party marketers. To make things more scarier, the state's driver license computer systems have been breached – that is your personal information in the hands of who knows who.

To me, REAL ID is a clear violation of states' rights as driver licensing in the United States is the responsibility of the individual fifty states including Florida. I have a page over at EdwardRingwald.com which explains Florida's new driver license requirements in a nutshell.

Now I want to hear from you! If you tried to obtain or renew your Florida driver's license but were unable to do so due to the new requirements please feel free to share your experience here by posting a comment. This also applies if you tried to renew your Florida driver's license online but were told that you have to go in person to renew your driver's license.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is nuts, it makes no one safer and is just making the card providers a lot of money.We don't need REAL ID to keep drivers licenses out of the hands of illegals. Focus on the problem instead of taking away liberties from American citizens. In some places they are telling us not to smile and to keep your eyes open wide so that the biometric pictures they want to share with everyone won't get messed up.