Q. I have been unable to get an answer from the Department of Motor Vehicles’ online robot or via the phone, so I went to the DMV website to search for the availability of personalized license plates. But despite following all of the right links, I cannot find anything on the site to help me. Do you know if this function has been taken down because of the backlog, or am I just not looking in the right spot? Getting answers from the DMV has become more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. I really appreciate you looking into this. I am trying to decide on a personalized plate.
– Jim Hegeduis, Mission Viejo
A. You can search and find just about anything online – except, for some reason, what California license-plate numbers someone else has already bought and therefore you can’t get.
“Currently, the online ordering option has been suspended,” said Nicholas Filipas, a DMV spokesman.
And even when it is working, it sounds cumbersome in Honk’s view. He remembers, a couple of decades ago going online and quickly seeing what plates were available – frankly, he was curious who had more vanity plates, USC’s wonderful fans or those misguided ones rooting for the team across town.
“There is no search tool for personalized license plate numbers,” Filipas said in an email. “However, when online ordering is available, the customer would not be able to continue with the transaction if the requested plate configuration is unavailable.”
For now, Jim, you would have to fill out a form, the “Special Interest License Plate Application,” in short called “REG 17,” and mail it in and cross your fingers (you can find the form online by Googling it). You can include second and third options.
Honk hates to bring your more bad news, Jim, but he is on a roll: Because of the pandemic, as you might have read in Honk recently, it takes four to six months to get personalized plates.
Jim, Honk has tossed on his trench coat and fedora and tucked a large magnifying glass in his back pocket and will bring Honkland more info on this topic when he can get it.
Q. I drive the southbound I-405 Freeway between Brookhurst Street and the northbound 55 Freeway in the morning. The combination of the current (faint) lane markings, the old lane markings that are still very visible and often more visible than the proper lane markings, and the glare of the sunlight make this a very hazardous stretch. Drivers drift right and left trying to figure out where the real lanes are. Does Caltrans have a plan to resurface and re-stripe this section of the freeway?
– Sue Ciandella, Huntington Beach
A. That swath is inside a 16-mile-long widening and improvement project, between the 73 and I-605 freeways, with a $2.08 billion price tag and a completion date of 2023. It is being led by the Orange County Transportation Authority, so Honk tossed your question in that direction.
As you have seen, Sue, lanes must be moved sideways at times in such a project.
“The I-405 project team regularly reviews striping and paving conditions throughout the entire project area and will paint over old lane markings and repaint new markings as needed to ensure visibility,” Eric Carpenter, a spokesman for the transportation agency, told Honk in an email.
“This repainting is done at least every six months, but often more frequently depending upon what the project team sees – and input from the public.
“We’re on the same page with the reader in this area and had identified this stretch as needing a refresh,” he continued. “We plan to repaint the lanes as soon as weather permits and nighttime lanes closures are scheduled.”
After construction is finished, Caltrans, a partner in this project, will be in charge of freeway lane striping.
Honkin’ fact: The United States government owns about 650,000 vehicles, and President Joe Biden said he wants Uncle Sam‘s entire fleet to eventually be powered by electricity and built by Americans. Currently, only 3,215 or so U.S.-owned vehicles are electric powered. (Source: Reuters)
To ask Honk questions, reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He only answers those that are published. To see Honk online: ocregister.com/tag/honk. Twitter: @OCRegisterHonk
Source: Orange County Register