Let's Make Sure To Put These Guys In Charge of Health Care

I suspect many of my readers also read Megan McArdle, but in case you missed her story, its pretty funny (as long as you are not the person experiencing it):

While consuming my one (1) beer, I was apprehended by agents of the
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.  They called my parents, fined me,
and made me attend a class on the horrors of underaged drinking (did
you realize that drinking can lead to uncontrollable vomiting?)  It was
during that class, with the errors of my ways now readily apparent,
that I made a pledge to myself to quit underaged drinking with all due
speed.  And on January 29th, 1994, I honored that pledge....

problem, you see, is that at the time of my conviction, I did not have
a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Driver's License.  Indeed, I had no
driver's license at all, being one of those benighted city people who
get their first driver's license at the age of 23.  The laws of the
State of Pennsylvania, however, say that the Department of
Transportation is entitled to suspend the driver's license of anyone
arrested for underaged drinking.  And the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation is, apparently, determined to exercise
this privilege.  Thus, the spectacle of a 35 year old woman being
informed that she is about to have her driver's license suspended for
underaged drinking.

To add insult to injury, I am expected to
fill out a form and, at my own expense, mail it to the DOT in order to
commence this suspension.

This would be funny and mildly
annoying if it were not for the fact that until they clear the
suspension, I cannot get a DC driver's license, because states are
required to scan for violations from other states before they issue a
new license.  (No word on how I got one out of the State of New York).
And until I get a DC driver's license, I cannot register the car I just
bought.  The DMV here, after much wrangling, gave me temporary tags,
but it looks like I'm going to have to garage the thing for three
months unless the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania relents.  Which, at this
time, they show no evidence of doing.


  1. Allen:

    And here I thought it was bad enough that I had to call in to figure out if I have to change my cars title to CO. I'd think that would easily be addresses in a FAQ but wasn't. This is far, far, far more annoying to say the least.

  2. nicole:

    Ha, this reminds me of my boyfriend, who at 15 was caught intoxicated (not drinking or buying alcohol) in VT and had his IL license "suspended" (he didn't have one) until he was nineteen. All this did was get him really used to having other people drive him around, and almost ten years later he still doesn't know how to drive or care to get a license. I wonder if something stupid like this would happen if he tried.

  3. Ray G:

    Whenever I get together with other former Marine types, we always speak as if we had the greatest of times; and we did. But then invariably some smart aleck has to ask, "Hey, if it was so great, how come none of us did more than one enlistment?"

    Because at the unit level, it was all esprit de corps and ooh rah type stuff.

    Beyond the unit level though - any branch of the military is a government entity after all - it was just one huge bureaucratic nightmare.

    Guys that had the stomach for 5 or more years - anecdotally speaking, my own experiences here - those guys almost to a man wound up in some kind of union and/or government job. They went over to the dark side.

  4. Flash Gordon:

    Megan can get this fixed by sending a certified copy of her birth certificate to the PA DOT showing that she is past the age when she became eligible to have her PA license reinstated (even though she never had a PA license). She needs to get it to the correct person, though. She may want to hire a lawyer in Harrisburg to do this for her. She should be able to get this done for a legal fee of no more than $250-500. She can first try to do it herself, and hire a lawyer only if she can't get it done. It would need to be a lawyer with experience doing this sort of thing. It's easy if you know what to do, that's why the fee should not be high. The bureaucrats working in the PA DOT, as in most state licensing agencies, have wide discretion.

  5. Jim Collins:

    I wish her luck. As Flash say a lawyer can probably get straightened out for her. The problem is that it shouldn't take a lawyer to do it. Everything in Pennsylvania seems to require the assistance of someone who knows the system. I recieved notice that my Pennsylvania driver's license was going to be suspended because of a violation that I had in Florida. One small problem, I hadn'r been in Florida since 1989 and when I was I had a Florida license. I called PENNDOT and I was informed that I had 45 days to get Florida to issue what is called "a not me" letter. It took Florida 30 days to respond and then when I asked PENNDOT where I should send the letter, they told me that since the letter was sent to me it was invalid, it had to be sent to them. I asked where it should be sent and the person DIDN'T KNOW. By the time I got the letter to the right place it was one day over the 45 day period. It cost me $26.00 to have my license reinstated plus $36.00 for a new license and the ultimate insult of having 5 points addded to my record. Remember one thing. There is no appeal for a PENNDOT descision unless PENNDOT allows it. Remember what happened to the guy who told his doctor that he drank a six pack of beer a day.

    Get the lawyer Meagan, get your license back and then you have the forum to stirfry PENNDOT. I'll bring the soy sauce.

  6. tehag:

    Hmm... if her crime had been robbery, would she be free of prosecution by now? I guess there is not a statute of limitations for everything.

  7. Matt:

    Despite the fact that, until I encounter somebody else who's been gang-raped and had the lives of their friends and relatives threatened over a dispute with the state driver licensing agency I believe I posess the ultimate trump card, I have a lot of sympathy for this.

    When "Catch 22" was a novel it was thought of as over-the-top hyperbolic satire. Now many bureaucrats appear to regard it as an instructional manual, if not a religious text.