Dumb And DMV Dumber

Posted on January 27, 2015 by - Also by this author

We can add another dimension of ridicule to the Department of Motor Vehicles. No acronym more strongly evokes the specter of an incompetent bureaucratic Big Brother government agency than the dreaded “DMV.” All of us must interact with this agency multiple times in our lives, which ranks somewhere among root canals and colonoscopies.

By the way, the last time I approached a DMV counter, the employees were all wearing bright light blue union T-shirts. Those wages, pensions, holidays, bankers’ hours, and benefits funded by taxpayers must be downright oppressive! Fight the power!

So it seemed miraculous when the DMV in California issued a memo requiring commercial plates for UberX and Lyft drivers. After all, whether they use personal cars or not, whether or not they are part-time, TNCs are still providing rides for hire. That’s a commercial concept; a commercial transportation enterprise with vehicles that should be covered by commercial vehicle insurance policies. Why that's even up for debate is beyond me.

But, wait, it’s the DMV we’re dealing with. That memo was too common-sense for the equivalent of the “Bad Business Bureau.” The DMV retracted the memo for further analysis and review.

I would like to spare the brilliant regulatory minds at the DMV some more of their union-waged exertions. Here is my simple analysis:

Driver picks up a passenger in a vehicle. Passenger enters the vehicle. Driver gets paid. Company that hired driver gets paid. That’s called a commercial transaction. When a group of same-branded vehicles are operating commercially, it is called a fleet. Fleets in the private sector are commercial. Therefore, the vehicle qualifies as commercial, as does the driver, as does the company. So the fleet vehicle needs a commercial plate, just like a limo, a taxi, an airport shuttle, a Verizon utility service truck, etc., etc.

Can the DMV finally get it, now? You’re welcome. I expect the California Department of Motor Vehicles to send me union-level compensation for this blog post.

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