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Getting a driver license the old-fashion way — just showing up at the DMV

Q. You’ve been referred to me by one of your readers in Huntington Beach. What appears to be simple right now is not! I’ve moved to California from New York and need to obtain a California driver license. My New York license is valid. The hold up is actually getting an appointment. How can I get this done?

– Rick Kuhnla, Solana Beach

A. Those folks in Huntington Beach are smart ones, Rick.

Honk has the goods – but you won’t find the info good, Rick. To get a new license, you must just go to a Department of Motor Vehicles office and endure a wait in line without an appointment.

The DMV is working through its backlog of appointments that were postponed because of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Nicholas Filipas, a DMV spokesman up in Sacramento, said new appointments should become available in the “next few months.”

Honk suggests that you go to the DMV’s website and fill out your electronic paperwork first to at least speed up the process a bit.

Because you have a license and are an adult, you won’t have to take a behind-the-wheel test, but you will be required to pass a vision and a written exam.

Because you are going to give up a chunk of your day to get your license, you might as well bring some extra documents and get the Real ID, too.

The advantages to having one, such as using that federally accepted ID to board domestic flights, won’t kick in until late next year. But getting the Real ID requires showing up at a DMV office, anyway, so Honk recommends you tackle that now as well.

A Real ID from another state cannot be transferred onto a California driver license, Filipas said. The DMV has a checklist on its website of what documents to tote along.

Honkin’ update: Last week a reader asked why California Highway Patrol officers had switched from tan to dark-blue uniforms, and Honk couldn’t get an answer from Sacramento quick enough for his deadline and told readers it was likely tied to the coronavirus.

The tan uniforms, with the blue ties and optional Smokey Bear hats, officially called campaign covers, are wool and need to go to the dry cleaners, as Honk pointed out, while the blues can be tossed into the washing machine at home.

The CHP commissioner’s office issued the expected temporary switch on March 20. This week, Fran Clader, the CHP’s director of communications, told Honk in an email:

“From a practical standpoint, the blue utility uniform is easier to use as it’s wash-and-wear apparel, allowing officers greater flexibility in keeping the uniform cleaned and maintained.

“Some dry cleaners have experienced closures and it can sometimes take several days to get a uniform back from the cleaner. The blue utility provides an ease of use for the officer.”

To ask Honk questions, reach him at He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk

Source: Orange County Register

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