Big thumbs down on Utah’s more restrictive driver’s license requirements.
After going through the requisite, but metaphorical, anal exam to renew my license today, I wondering if the legislators who passed the law are more concerned with people's citizenship then keeping unsafe drivers off the road.
In the past renewing a Utah driver's license, providing you had no points or citations on your record, was easy. You filled out a form, wrote a check, and mailed it in or do the entire process online. Two weeks later you’d get a renewal sticker. Only once every 10 years did you actually have to show up in person to renew. And aside from the requisite long line to stand it, getting a new one was pretty straight forward.
Now, it seems, the Utah Department of Public Safety is more concerned with applicants' citizenship status than whether or not they can actually drive. Whether you’re renewing your driver's license or getting a new one, you have to provide proof of citizenship along with a host of other proof of residence documents. (For a full list of what’s required, click here.)
So when I showed up this morning, I came with a birth certificate, social security card, a bank and utility statement (dated within the last 60 days). All of my documents were examined twice. After the second examination, my birth certificate and social security cared were scanned into their computer. (I assume they’re now part of some Big Brother database.) Amazingly they didn’t ask for a DNA or blood sample.
Don’t misunderstand. I have no problem ensuring driver license applicants are Utah residents before issuing them a Utah driver's license. However, I’d rather see more concern for keeping unsafe drivers off the roads than non-U.S citizens from driving. I’d rather share the road with 10 non-U.S. residents who know how to drive then one citizen of this great country who can’t. (And based on my daily commute to work, there are plenty Utah residents/US Citizens who can’t.)
Instead of worrying about citizenship, a smarter way to go would be to have every non-citizen or non-Utah resident applying for a driver's license take a driving test. If you don't pass you don't get a driver's license. Apply for a State ID card instead. All the new rules will accomplish is discouraging non-U.S. citizens from applying for a driver's license.
Sadly, having safe drivers behind the wheel seems to be the last thing on the minds of the wise, all-knowing elected officials in Salt Lake and the bureaucrats at Utah Department of Public Safety.