Getting a Real ID takes a little planning

How kind it was of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to send me a birthday card.

It didn’t have any sappy sentiment or cheap jokes about my age. In fact, it didn’t even say “Happy Birthday!”

But it did remind me that if I want to get on a commercial airline flight in four years I might consider applying for a Real ID designation at my Nevada driver’s license renewal.

Some have said Real ID is a Real Hassle so I wanted to make sure I had everything in order before making my way to those fun lines at the DMV office. And I’m pleased to say that if you plan ahead, you can get everything done without taking a meal to the office.

First, a reminder of what Real ID is. The 9/11 Commission recommended that the federal government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses,” according to the Homeland Security Department.

Congress approved legislation in 2005 establishing minimum standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards and prohibits federal agencies from accepting IDs from states that don’t meet the standards.

Nevada is among the states that are compliant, but that means anyone who wants a Real ID must provide additional documentation at license renewal time to win a Gold Star. Actually, it’s a white star within a gold circle, the designation that the holder of the ID has been vetted for proof of citizenship and residency.

The key takeaway is that unless you have Real ID by Oct. 1, 2020, you won’t be able to use your driver’s license to get through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at airports. You also may not be able to get into certain federal buildings or installations. Of course, you could instead use a passport to fly to Reno if you want.

To get through the DMV process efficiently, check out the requirements first. I decided to see if I could do it in less than an hour on St. Patrick’s Day.

The best thing to do is gather all your materials in advance. You need:

■ One document for proof of identity. That’s best done with a state-issued birth certificate or an unexpired passport.

■ One document for proof of Social Security number. You can show an original card, or easier, a pay stub or W-2 form, which you just got from your employer.

■ Two documents proving your Nevada residential address. Bring in utility bills that are less than two months old.

■ A completed driver’s license application. There are stacks of them at the DMV office, but you can fill one out in advance by downloading and printing the form.

■ If you’ve changed your name, proof of all name changes. You can use a marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption records or court order. This seems a little discriminatory against women, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Armed with an envelope full of documents, I arrived at the DMV office when it opened at 8 a.m.

8:03 — Got in the “information line” that had five layers of rat maze 30 feet long, about 75 people in line ahead of me.

8:30 — Dispatched to the “waiting area” to get a text directing me to a window.

8:32 — Got my first text telling me there were 30 people ahead of me.

8:33 — Checked email, DMV offices now have Wi-Fi; watched scintillating “Motor Vehicle Network” TV.

8:37 — Received a text giving me a 14-minute warning. If I had left the DMV, it was time to get back.

8:54 — Told to proceed to Window 23.

9:04 — Documents checked and scanned; directed to the photo line, which had four people in front of me.

9:10 — All done! Only an hour and 10 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

There are other important details about Real ID to consider. Check the website for details.

Intersection noise

Those poor people living in the vicinity of Grand Teton Drive and Tenaya Way have had it rough. First, they got to see the area routinely flooded with storm runoff that turned the area into a small lake. Now that traffic has picked up, there’s a four-way stop at the intersection that produces a lot of noise.

Two Warrior readers, Michelle and Bruce, wrote to inquire about signalizing the intersection:

“I am a new resident to Las Vegas,” Michelle wrote. “I recently moved into a new community called The Orchards at the corner of Grand Teton and Tenaya.

“Currently there is a four-way stop at the intersection. Every time vehicles come to the stop sign, they have to brake (lots of squeaking) and then they accelerate to get started again. The noise is almost unbearable. We need to have a stop light put in to keep traffic moving on Grand Teton to eliminate all the stops and starts from all the cars, trucks and buses.”

Added Bruce, “We would like to pursue either eliminating the stop signs on Grand Teton and allowing the traffic to continue without stopping on that street, or adding a traffic light at the intersection. Please help in giving us direction on how to accomplish this.”

Sorry, Michelle and Bruce. You’re not going to be too happy about this, but you’ve got red tape in your path because of an unusual circumstance: You’re right on the jurisdictional boundary between the city and the county, meaning that both entities have to sign off on it to get your traffic signal.

From the city’s Jace Radke:

“That intersection is part county jurisdiction and part city jurisdiction so any traffic signal would need approval from both agencies. This corridor was recently under construction for storm drains, but now that the work is complete, the city will conduct a traffic study at the intersection. It normally takes four to eight weeks to collect the traffic data, crash history and evaluate what the best traffic safety device would be for the intersection.”

I’d also consider the neighborhood sending a letter to Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross, who represent the areas in question to see if they can expedite the process.

Questions and comments should be sent to Please include your phone number. Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter: @RJroadwarrior

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