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Motor Vehicle Camera Out of Service Again

Feb. 28, 2007 — The camera that takes driver's license photos at St. John's Motor Vehicle Bureau is broken — again.
"They've got to get it fixed or get a new camera," St. John Administrator Leona Smith said Wednesday.
A worker at the bureau, who did not want to be identified, said the camera has been down for two weeks this time. He said he's heard it should be back on line by the end of the week.
While no one appears to keep track of this type of problem at Motor Vehicle, camera breakdowns have happened before — many times before.
Instead of a bona fide driver's license, motorists renewing their licenses get a cashier's receipt proving they've paid for the license, as well as a handwritten notation on the application form that states: "The license machine is out of order."
The application also carries a "Department of Public Safety" stamp. That department was replaced by the Police Department several administrations ago, and the Motor Vehicle Bureau became a separate entity in 2005.
Bureau Director Jerris Browne could not be reached for comment.
While local police are expected to honor the expired licenses with the renewal paperwork attached, it's another matter in other jurisdictions.
"It's not good anywhere else," the motor vehicle employee said.
While it's an inconvenience to return to the bureau for the photo session, it's a huge problem for people needing to rent a car on off-island trips or who need to show their driver's license for other reasons.
Another Motor Vehicle worker suggested that a St. John resident who tried to renew her driver's license Wednesday make a trip to St. Thomas if she needed a bona fide license.
That trip costs about $50 if a person goes on the barge. Otherwise, the person will have to pay ferry and taxi fare to get to the Motor Vehicle office in Sub Base.
And this doesn't take into account lost time from work. A trip like this can easily eat up a whole day's time.
Snafus at Motor Vehicle happen often but vary in nature. Last year, a St. John driver took his truck to be inspected as required in February. The agency was out of stickers to put on the windshield so he received a piece of paper noting that the vehicle had passed inspection.
The driver, who also did not want to be identified, went back to Motor Vehicles three times in two months to get the sticker, but had no luck. "Then I forgot about it," he said.
Six months later, he was stopped by a police officer who demanded that he park his truck on the side of the road because his vehicle wasn't registered, even though he showed him the paper he received from the bureau.
The driver said the police officer tried to take the license plates off the truck so he couldn't move it, but the bolts were too rusty to be removed with the officer's pen knife.
The motorist then went to Motor Vehicle to get the sticker, where he said the clerk was quite surprised that he didn't just wait until the next inspection to get a sticker.
He said the police officer issued him a ticket for driving an unregistered vehicle. "It cost me $25," he said.

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Feb. 28, 2007 -- The camera that takes driver's license photos at St. John's Motor Vehicle Bureau is broken -- again.
"They've got to get it fixed or get a new camera," St. John Administrator Leona Smith said Wednesday.
A worker at the bureau, who did not want to be identified, said the camera has been down for two weeks this time. He said he's heard it should be back on line by the end of the week.
While no one appears to keep track of this type of problem at Motor Vehicle, camera breakdowns have happened before -- many times before.
Instead of a bona fide driver's license, motorists renewing their licenses get a cashier's receipt proving they've paid for the license, as well as a handwritten notation on the application form that states: "The license machine is out of order."
The application also carries a "Department of Public Safety" stamp. That department was replaced by the Police Department several administrations ago, and the Motor Vehicle Bureau became a separate entity in 2005.
Bureau Director Jerris Browne could not be reached for comment.
While local police are expected to honor the expired licenses with the renewal paperwork attached, it's another matter in other jurisdictions.
"It's not good anywhere else," the motor vehicle employee said.
While it's an inconvenience to return to the bureau for the photo session, it's a huge problem for people needing to rent a car on off-island trips or who need to show their driver's license for other reasons.
Another Motor Vehicle worker suggested that a St. John resident who tried to renew her driver's license Wednesday make a trip to St. Thomas if she needed a bona fide license.
That trip costs about $50 if a person goes on the barge. Otherwise, the person will have to pay ferry and taxi fare to get to the Motor Vehicle office in Sub Base.
And this doesn't take into account lost time from work. A trip like this can easily eat up a whole day's time.
Snafus at Motor Vehicle happen often but vary in nature. Last year, a St. John driver took his truck to be inspected as required in February. The agency was out of stickers to put on the windshield so he received a piece of paper noting that the vehicle had passed inspection.
The driver, who also did not want to be identified, went back to Motor Vehicles three times in two months to get the sticker, but had no luck. "Then I forgot about it," he said.
Six months later, he was stopped by a police officer who demanded that he park his truck on the side of the road because his vehicle wasn't registered, even though he showed him the paper he received from the bureau.
The driver said the police officer tried to take the license plates off the truck so he couldn't move it, but the bolts were too rusty to be removed with the officer's pen knife.
The motorist then went to Motor Vehicle to get the sticker, where he said the clerk was quite surprised that he didn't just wait until the next inspection to get a sticker.
He said the police officer issued him a ticket for driving an unregistered vehicle. "It cost me $25," he said.

Back Talk


Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.