Readers suggest improvements for DMV

Following Sunday’s column about the lengthy waits at the Department of Motor Vehicles, readers had additional questions and suggestions about potential improvements to the agency. We’ll start today off with a couple of those.

Diane would like an appointment: Why doesn’t the DMV in Las Vegas take appointments? In California, you go online, pick a time and if it’s open, it’s yours. If it can be done in California, it can be done in Nevada, right?

Plenty of readers expressed interest in the ability to make appointments, but DMV spokesman Tom Jacobs said the system in California isn’t all that efficient because there are so many no-shows. The division has had similar problems with appointments in Nevada, where driving tests can be scheduled. The appointments can be far out — and I don’t mean cool, I mean in the not-so-near-future — so showing up at the DMV and placing your name on a standby list is often more effective.

Patrick gives California an A … AA: In California, AAA is able to process DMV functions. We could renew, transfer or get state license plates and renew our registration. AAA had a direct connection to the DMV computer system. This made it easy for people who could not register online to get the renewals done in a timely manner.

The motor vehicle division’s relationship with AAA isn’t that involved, although the automobile club does offer kiosks where motorists can register their vehicles. Similarly, some car dealerships have DMV counters where you can renew your registration.

Jacobs noted that California car dealerships also have a different relationship with the DMV. The sales tax and registration fees are rolled into the loan, allowing dealers to transmit the sale of a vehicle to the DMV and the buyers to walk out with their new license plates. Nevada has launched a similar pilot program in the northern part of the state, but Jacobs said the dealerships have resisted registering cars on their property.

Gary’s plight is this: My daughter got married recently and wants to keep her maiden name and her new middle name. This wasn’t a problem at the Social Security office, but she has been told that the DMV will only make changes in last names and will not change a middle name on the updated drivers license. Is there is anything she can do about it?

Nevada used to be a little more lax when it comes to name changes on driver’s licenses and identification cards, but its rules have become more stringent because of fears of identity theft and fraud.

The first and middle names must match on birth certificates. The Social Security office doesn’t verify identity by name, but by number, Jacobs said.

Your daughter might be causing more confusion, and perhaps problems down the road, for herself by changing her middle name on her social security card because her name will no longer match DMV records. Gary, what your daughter can do is keep her birth-given middle name and hyphenate her last name to include her maiden name and the name of her partner.

Mary and Wayne and a few others ask: Our road planners and builders have recently added a short high-occupancy vehicle lane to the northbound approach to Highway 95 from Tropicana Avenue. Three lanes feed the ramp that narrows to one lane to get on the highway. The short HOV lane was added on the left for a few yards. Drivers have always been competitive in getting to the one-lane highway access. Now we have the extra lane to enliven the race and increase the odds for a wreck. What were they thinking?

They are thinking that this new configuration will eventually improve traffic flow. This is part of the Nevada Department of Transportation’s endeavor to install ramp meters along the Highway 95 corridor. Bob McKenzie, spokesman for the agency, said the striping on the onramp is finished and the meters will soon be installed. Of course, the HOV lanes can only be used by vehicles with two or more people during rush hours. McKenzie said motorists traveling on westbound Tropicana onto northbound 95 need to adhere to the posted yield signs. "Like anything that’s new, we ask that people take caution," McKenzie said.

Speaking of ramp meters: The Regional Transportation Commission will light up the meters on Highway 95 at the Rainbow Curve more frequently beginning today with the hopes that it will help ease congestion caused by construction on the freeway. Keep an eye out because they will be turned on outside of the regular hours of between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Include your phone number.

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