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D.C. License Laws Change Today

Some changes start today at the District's Department of Motor Vehicles as its new fiscal year begins.

As of Wednesday, D.C. driver's licenses and identification cards will be valid for up to eight years, rather than five. More time between renewal visits to the DMV.

But some fees will increase: The vehicle inspection fee will rise from $25 to $35; the non-commercial driver's license fee will go from $39 to $44. The inspection sticker for new vehicles will be valid for four years, rather than two.

DMV Director Lucinda Babers said in a statement that "there has not been a fee increase for vehicle inspections since 2001 and the driver's license fee increased from $10 to $39 in 2003 to deter against identity theft and fraud by increasing security features."

She said "customers are receiving a cost benefit for the extended eight-year license period." It amounts to $5.50 per year versus $7.80 per year for five years, with no visits to the DMV for renewals for eight years, Barbers said.

Vehicles that exceed 40 miles per gallon in city driving are eligible for the excise tax exemption. That does not include motorcycles and motorized bicycles. The qualifying vehicles also get a one-time reduction in the registration fee.

The DMV also says it is cutting drivers some slack by expanding its online services. Drivers can printout temporary online licenses, identification cards and registrations so those who wait till the last minute to renew can keep on driving. You can read more about the online services on this page at the DMV Web site.

Virginia drivers: Here's the link for your online transactions.
Maryland drivers: This one is for you.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 30, 2008; 8:39 AM ET
Categories:  Driving  
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Posted by: BALLOU1962 | October 1, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

"Drivers can printout temporary online licenses"

When you see someone driving with temporary tags, keep your distance. They may have one or more of several issues.

Posted by: Karl | October 1, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Does the excise tax exemption apply to diesel vehicles. My Jetta TDI (Diesel) has an EPA over 40 mpg. Any word there?

Posted by: Farrah | October 1, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The DMV is controlled by a bunch of idiots. They are not there to help you, they are there to 'Get You'. They have nothing but contempt of the general public.

Posted by: Bill Monroe | October 1, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I love that they have extended the time BUT reminders are not sent! Who is going to remember in that many years that their car needs inspected or that their driver's license is coming up for renewal? I was just burnt by both of those items. You are supposed to get a reminder for your license renewal via mail-never happened for me. And why no mail notification for an inspection coming due?

Posted by: Phyllis | October 1, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I didn’t think anyone in DC actually HAD a license by the way they drive....

Posted by: Yawn | October 1, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Here is the page on the DC DMV website which refers to the excise tax exemption:

DC then redirects you to the EPA fuel economy website:

Looks like the diesel owners get screwed (again). For 2008, not only did the EPA revise its testing procedures to more closely match real world fuel economy, it also made those adjustments retroactive: my 2004 VW Golf TDI got knocked down to 32 mpg City (from 38).

Of course it doesn't matter that I've never seen under 45 mpg (combined), or that the car is driven about 3 thousand miles per year.

Posted by: nonmotorized | October 1, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yawn, it was always accepted in the region that the worst drivers are from Virginia and that's been the statement that everyone I know has said for the last 30 years I've had my license here.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The DC DMV is the worse I've ever experienced, particularly because of their outright hostility in regulation. As an out-of-state student I was unable to even pay to register my car here due to certain regulations and thus have to park on non-zoned streets instead. I'd love to just pay the fees to get it done, but because of their red tape, it's basically impossible!

Posted by: epth | October 1, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Yawn, it is actually the people from MD and VA who don't know how to drive in the city. All of my pedestrian friends joke about it. If you are trying to cross the street with the signal and a car almost runs you over, it is almost always going to be someone from the suburbs who doesn't recognize that pedestrians have the right of way, especially when they have the walk signal.

Posted by: Anonymously | October 1, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Phyllis, why not just take responsibility for yourself and not rely on others to take care of you? I assume you're an adult.

Posted by: Anonymously | October 1, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

BALLOU1962, inspections are necessary for a myriad of reasons, including to ensure that vehicles are safe, that they are not violating environmental protection laws, etc. Without the inspection process, however imperfect it may be, the streets would be filled with unsafe, polluting clunkers.

Posted by: Anonymously | October 1, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@Phyllis - Yeah, I've gotten stuck with the expired license before (out of town and attempting to board a plane - ouch.). A reminder would have been handy as I'm not (or wasn't) in the habit of checking such details on my IDs.

But as far as the vehicle registration and inspection dates, they're printed in large, bold typeface on the stickers you place in your windshield. Are you that oblivious when you get into/out of your vehicle?

Posted by: DC2long | October 1, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Having grown up in New York and having lived in Maryland for some time, I must say that the DC DMV is pretty good by comparison. I have only been to the DMV in G-Town, so my exposure is somewhat limited, but they were very efficient and had a pretty good attitude towards me. New York was efficient, but the employees were rude (even by NY standards). Maryland, however, was the WORST as they were rude and no one (including the manager) had a clue. It was as if it was everyone's first day on the job.

Posted by: eric wexler | October 1, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I moved from VA to DC ten years ago and have noticed significant improvements to DC's DMV. The DMV folks are generally helpful and accommodating

Posted by: Martin | October 1, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I have never had a problem with the DC DMV and trust me, I have used their services plenty. Those that complain should reflect inward. Perhaps the problem is with you.

Posted by: Z | October 1, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I haven't had a problem with the DMV since Anthony Williams first took over. Now the people who give out parking tickets...that is another issue.

Posted by: searay28 | October 1, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I live in VA and my DMV I must admit is pretty darn good. DMV express in fair oaks mall is quick! and I was able to get in and out of the normal DMV in westfields in about 45 minutes on a Saturday!

Posted by: Kevin | October 1, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Comparing the Laural MD MVA to the southwest waterfront DMV is like night and day. MD was always crowded w/ multiple trips to the window for each step and waiting 45-1hr between. In DC i talked to 1 person and w/ waiting was out in 45 minutes new tags in hand.

Posted by: Mike | October 1, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

DC DMV has gotten a lot better, as has the inspection process.

I wish the ticket people would be more effective in ticketing Virginia and Maryland cars who illegally park on Capitol Hill streets.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

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