Q. Dear Honk: A few years ago, my wife and I jumped through the hoops and got the Real ID golden bear on our driver’s licenses. When I renewed my license this spring, my new license came with the Real ID golden bear, which makes sense because I’m still the same guy. Like some other seniors, my wife realized after the COVID hiatus that it was time for her to stop driving. I applaud her. Her Real ID driver’s license will expire late this fall and she wants to convert it to a Real ID California identification card (complete with golden bear). I called the Department of Motor Vehicles and was told that can’t be done, requiring her to jump through the same hoops she did to get the golden bear on her driver’s license. I see no rational rationale for the DMV to ask for information it already has. Your faithful ancient reader.
– Tony Provost, Orange
A. Dear Faithful Ancient Reader:
Honk applauds your better half, too, Tony, and hopes when his pate has even less hair, and perhaps a few more wrinkles, he will be smart enough to sell off the Honkmobile and find other ways to move about as well.
“Customers who want to convert a REAL ID driver’s license to a REAL ID identification card (or vice versa) are no longer required to provide identity and residency documentation that was already submitted to the DMV for their original REAL ID,” Ronald Ongtoaboc, a DMV spokesman, told Honk in an email.
She will have to hit a DMV office, which if she is age 70 or older she would have had to when renewing (and possibly if she was younger).
Because no one can have a Real ID on a license and a DMV-issued ID at the same time, a clerk would cancel out the license before setting up the ID card.
“There is a standard application fee involved to complete this process ($41),” Ongtoaboc said. “If an individual wants to cancel a REAL ID driver’s license due to a physical or mental condition, or is over the age of 62, the REAL ID identification card is free of charge.”
Honk would take in the needed docs, Faithful Ancient Reader, just in case the clerk isn’t up to speed. Heck, take in this copy of Honk and show it to a supervisor, if needed.
Q. My 2013 Honda Accord has been selected for the STAR smog check for a second time in a row. STAR is supposed to be random for clean vehicles. Twice in a row isn’t random. The car passed the last time. Accords are not known as high polluters, especially a 2013 “near-zero emissions” model.
– Wally Roberts, San Clemente
A. Wally knows his stuff.
STAR smog-check stations are scrutinized more by the state and largely for troubled vehicles, although other cars and trucks are randomly told by the state they must go there as well.
“The majority of vehicles directed to STAR stations are based upon the (higher) probability that a vehicle will fail its next inspection, with vehicle age and number of miles being major factors in that determination,” Matt Woodcheke, a spokesman for the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which includes the state’s Bureau of Automotive Repair, said in an email.
“Once a vehicle is directed to a STAR station based upon these factors, it will generally be STAR directed from that point on.”
Thinking of Wally, Honk asked if anyone can tell why a vehicle gets tapped for a STAR station.
“There’s no way for a consumer to know why their vehicle was selected,” Woodcheke said. “Vehicle history and model-year data are all factors. … Smog-check inspection prices are market driven, so STAR stations may or may not cost the same as other smog-check inspection stations.”
HONKIN’ FACT: Palm Springs police were stopping drivers a week or so ago at a DUI and driver’s license checkpoint. Well, several blocks away a 27-year-old from Texas nearly struck pedestrians leaving a theater, Lt. Gustavo Araiza told Honk, and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. Oh, boy: The lieutenant said she had collided with an electronic message board flashing two screens: DRIVER LICENSE & … DUI CHKPNT AHEAD.”
Source: Orange County Register