Watch out America. I can drive again. The end of the story that started back in 2007 is finally in sight.
On Feb. 17, 2010 my two year suspension/probation ended and I became eligible to get my license back. The process started when I received a letter from the RMV saying I needed to bring them four forms of ID and $700 to reinstate my license. I brought these into the Boston office, where I waited two hours for a hearing officer. When I finally got to talk to someone, I found that like most messages from the RMV, the letter didn’t describe the process accurately.
The hearing officer gave me an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) packet. The packet could easily have been mailed to me or posted online to save me a trip to the RMV and allow the officer to do something more useful. I should be used to this sort of thing by now.
The packet included some forms Ruth and I needed to fill out and get notarized to acknowledge that we were all aware of the rules. Basically, any car I own or operate has to have an IID installed, it’s assumed that I’m responsible if anyone fails the breath test, and if that happens, I can go to jail.
The packet also included a list of places that install and service IIDs. There are a few different brands of IIDs, but I couldn’t find any information on how they differ. I called a couple of the closer locations, and decided to go to MacMillen Automotive in Malden.
We brought the CRV to Malden and while they were installing the IID we headed back to the RMV with a certificate that said the IID was installed. After another wait of 90 minutes, the hearing officer entered the IID certificate into the system, which authorized me to go downstairs and wait another couple hours for a registry clerk. When I reached the clerk, she took my $700, but that didn’t get my license reinstated right away. I had to take an eye test and pay for the right to take the test to get a learner’s permit.
I decided to take a chance and take the permit test right away, to try and avoid another day of waiting at the RMV. That was the wrong choice. I failed the test, so I bought a study guide, skimmed it that night, and returned the next day for another wait, after which I passed the test and got my learner’s permit.
Now I could drive again, as long as I had a licensed driver with me. When I got behind the wheel, I found that I hadn’t forgotten how to drive. It was like the two years away hadn’t happened. So I scheduled my road test as soon as I could.
The test was scheduled for Stoneham, one of the limited number of locations where I could take the test with the IID. When Ruth and I arrived for the test, the official told us we needed yet another form, one which no one had bothered to mention before this. We were early enough that we had time to race to the library, print the form and fill it out, and get back in time to avoid rescheduling. We weren’t the only ones to have this problem. The people before us got the wrong form on their trip to the library, and were told to come back another time.
The test itself was uneventful. I passed, and I now have a license with a Z restriction. If all goes well, in February 2012 I can get the IID removed and get a normal license.
What has all this cost?
$50 – Victim/Witness fee (there were none)
$250 – OUI fee (if I don’t pay it, do I get to skip the conviction?)
$50 – OUI victim fee (there were none)
$250 – Head injury fee (there were none)
$1560 – Probation fee ($65/month x 24 months)
$280 – Drug/Alcohol evaluation and aftercare ($10/session (insurance co-pay) x (1 eval +26 weekly sessions +1 monthly session))
$953.26 – DUIL 14 day alcoholic residential program
$400 – Lawyer (price break from long-time friend)
$200 – Lawyer to contest drug testing and duplicate evaluation and aftercare requirements
$700 – License reinstatement fee
$60 – Permit test fee ($30 x 2)
$5 – study guide
$50 – License fee
$20 – Road test fee
~$1000/yr – additional cost of insurance
$222.19 – Install IID
$2429.75 – Monthly IID service fee (25 x $97.19)
That adds up to $9480.20 by the time I get the IID removed. It doesn’t count the extra cost of insurance after that point, something that’s not insignificant.
If you want, you can add in the $22,000 we spent on a Honda Insight for Ruth, partly so she wouldn’t have to deal with the IID. But if you do that, it’s only fair to subtract the $7944 insurance claim I was paid for the total loss of my Corolla.
Then there’s the time I spent dealing with all this, and the opportunities lost because of my situation.
It could have cost a lot more. Not only money, but it could have cost lives. Don’t drink and drive.
Search this blog for “dui” to see other posts in this series.
The lesson learned is, don’t drink and drive.
In 1993, my aunt and uncle were returning from my high school graduation party, and were hit head on by a drunk driver. They lived. My aunt, however, has had at least 30 surgeries, and has spent most of the last 17 years in a wheelchair. She was walking for a while, but went back to the wheelchair since old age has compounded things for her. She well have several steel rods and pins in her legs forever.
The drunk driver apparently contested some technicality of his alcohol blood test that night, and got off easy.