Dumb And DMV Dumber

Martin Romjue
Posted on January 27, 2015

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.

Related Topics: California operators, Editor's Edge Blog, Fleet Vehicles, LCT editor, limo licenses, Lyft, Martin Romjue, regulatory enforcement, Sidecar, TNCs, Uber

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Chuck Cotton

     | about 3 years ago

    Excellen article martin, In addition to the CDMV saga, today, announcement by CA Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones approving a new Uber gimmick even better than the James River fiasco which is the Metromile launching of per mile premium charges for coverage in addition to the private policy an Uber driver may or not have. In checking this out today, I discover the underwrite and issuer of the allege carrier as Uber said was National General Insurance Company, a division of nation General Holdings Corp. of NYC. I spoke with the P & C department and they had no knowledge of such a product nor was in the product line. They told me Metromile is only an agency out of SF. Obviously they can't write such insurance so the California Attorney General needs to add this to there corruption watch dog list that is overflowing of California violations regarding Uber and others. (see today's latimes.com article and my comments) (see www.insurance.ca.gov)

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