Some things worth waiting for

Published 9:09 am Tuesday, July 8, 2014

At some point over the past few weeks I remember reading a news story about the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles proposing a major change to the way they administer tests for renewing a driver’s license.

The way it stands now, if a driver has not been cited for a moving violation during the term of an active license (six years), the only requirements to renew is to pass the road sign test; take an eye exam; and have a totally unflattering photo snapped that you have to grimace at for the next six years.

Apparently, at least from what I can remember reading, those three requirements are to blame when it comes to causing long lines within the Driver’s License offices across the state……not to mention those who are required to take a written test because they received a ticket over the past six years, or those first-timers who are required to take the written test and a road test.

Now, there is a proposal on the table for good drivers (those who behave themselves and operate a motor vehicle by following the rules of the road) to renew their license online. The only stipulations are that the renewal is only good for four years (instead of six) and your most recent renewal was in person at the Driver’s License office.

What….no more embarrassing photos?

I can fathom how a road sign test can be administered online, but how can DMV tell if you’re cheating?

What about an eye test administered online? Isn’t it possible to station a person with perfect 20/20 vision adjacent to the computer and let them recite to those of us with imperfect eyesight all those tiny lines of abstract letters?

I guess it’s safe to say I’m not a big fan of this proposal. While I’m among those that grumble when they step foot inside the Driver’s License office, note the number of people in line, and have to wait, I strongly believe in the way the DMV system currently works.

Operating a motor vehicle isn’t a God-given right….it takes knowledge, skill and huge helpings of common sense. A driver also needs to realize the responsibility they have heaped on his or her shoulders when it comes to safe-guarding themselves, their passengers and other motorists.

Judging by the way some folks drive here locally, they either slipped the DMV examiner a hundred dollar bill under the desk or were just downright lucky to pass a driver’s test.

As an example, about one month ago I was returning to the office from lunch and was in the right-hand lane of Memorial Drive (which, for those of you unfamiliar with Ahoskie, is a five lane highway; two southbound lanes, two northbound lanes and a center turn lane from Central Ford to Wendy’s.) The stoplight at the old McDonald’s (at one of the entrances to New Market Shopping Center) was red. I was third in line in my lane at that light and there were vehicles in the left lane stopped as well.

Low and behold when that light turned green, the lead vehicle in the left-hand lane hit the gas and made a sharp turn to the right in an effort to enter New Market Shopping Center. Thank goodness the lead vehicle in the right-hand lane was making the identical move. Thank goodness there was not a vehicle exiting New Market at that precise moment as the illegally turning car used that lane to pass by the car making a legal turn.

I feel it’s imperative to show up, in person, at the Driver’s License office to renew your license. If you have to wait in line, then so be it….the life you save by doing so may be your own, or someone you love.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal