Tuesday, March 31, 2009

JOURNAL: A New License

A couple days ago, I got a new driver's license. The Florida License On Wheels (or "FLOW") Mobile was in the front parking at work. My card was cracked and was due to expire in less than a year, so I took the opportunity.

While doing some research, I found out that with the Class D license I've had in my possession, I could've been driving:

"A truck or truck-tractor with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 8,000 lbs. or more, but less than 26,001 lbs., or more than 80 inches wide, not transporting placardable amounts of hazardous materials."(Source: FloridaDrivers.com)

... a missed opportunity, but oh well. Now Ihave the standard Class E license, with a nicer picture (I cut my own hair!).

And I was able to put it to use that very evening.

Yeah, on the way home, I got pulled over by a cop. I wasn't speeding or driving aggressively (not this time). And I didn't intentionally run a red light (I did that that morning when the exit ramp traffic was apparently not having a chance at the green -- everyone just treated it like a flashing red light and proceeded with caution). No, I got pulled over because my license plate light was out.

Luckily, the cop only gave me a citation, giving me 30 days to fix the light, otherwise it becomes a ticket.

Jump to yesterday. Before leaving for work, I popped the trunk, grabbed a Phillip-head screwdriver, and figured how to remove the fabric screws without breaking them (yay, I was so proud). I pulled back the lining and got a look of the light connectors -- looked similar to the head and tail lights'. Then after work, I stopped by Wal-Mart, picked up a pair of replacement bulbs for $1.85, and installed them myself. (go me!)

With that done, all I had to do was turn in the paperwork. That was today.

During my lunch break, I went to the courthouse, where I was told that I had to first get a signature from the police station to verify the fix. So I drove over to the police department.

And an officer walked to the parking log with me, looked at my fixed light, and led me back inside where she signed the back of my citation and then charged me $4.00 for the service. Hmm, okay.

Then back to the courthouse. I handed the signed slip of paper to the clerk of court, who proceeded to enter the information into her computer. Problem was the officer who wrote me up -- she didn't press down hard enough for any of the information to be visible, so this process took extra long while they made guesses -- though they honestly didn't care about accuracy, even as I offered to phone a friend to get my license plate number. I seriously thought that all that would already be in their system.

Anyways, when they were somewhat satisfied with their choices, they charged me an additional $10.00 and sent me to their cashier.

I mean, I'm grateful that I didn't levy any serious fees or accrue any points, but even still, a would've-been $1.85 fix turned out to be quite an expensive deal.

Oh well. The experience gave me a greater sense of my automotive competence and enough fodder for a blog post...

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