I’ve Been Driving With Expired Tags Since May. How Long Until I Have to Visit the DMV?

It was obvious that this honeymoon wouldn’t last.

I've been driving with expired tags since May. I heard the cops wouldn't ticket me, since the DMVs were all closed. Now the DMV is open again. How long do I have before I have to drag my sorry butt down there? —Ellen T.

Remember when the coronavirus first hit? And you couldn't do anything because everything was locked down, but the powers that be were super-cool about it, because it obviously wasn't your fault?

Can't do your taxes because H&R Block is closed? Not a problem, we'll postpone tax day. Can't pay your bills because your workplace shut down? Tough break, maybe this extra $600 will help. Can't get new tags because there's no DMV? Don't sweat it, we'll deal with it later.

It was obvious that this honeymoon wouldn't last. Sure enough, today really is tax day, COVID or no COVID, and that extra $600 runs out on the 31st of this month. If you picked July in your office's "When Will the Feds Go Back to Telling Us to Ram It?" pool, step up and claim your turkey.

Inconveniently for my rhetorical position, however, your honeymoon with Oregon (or at least the car-registration amnesty) actually lasts until October.

That said, I wouldn't wait. (Who am I kidding? I'd put it off till 4:45 pm on Sept. 30, but you shouldn't.) Not only will there be seven months' worth of lapsed registrations fighting to beat the Oct. 1 deadline, but October is the month when the federal Real ID Act is scheduled to take effect.

This means that, starting on Oct. 21, every Oregonian who wants to fly commercially (granted, by then that could be nobody) will need either a passport or a brand-new, Real ID-compliant, DMV-issued driver's license. You can imagine how tough it's going to be to get a DMV appointment in September.

Wait, what? Yes, it's true—in an organizational tweak that arguably should have happened in 1979, the DMV now accepts (nay, requires) appointments.

You can find out more about this (including many other ways to avoid spending time at the DMV) at dmv2u.oregon.gov. We'll all miss the tradition of passing down that little ticket through the three generations it takes for your number to be called, but progress is progress.

I enjoy Dr. Know, but he blew it this week. He said Real ID would be required on Oct. 21. However, because of the coronavirus the date has been changed to Oct. 1, 2021. Maybe he meant Oct. 2021, but I don't think so.

Lonsdale (Lon Escherich)

Dr. Know responds: Behold the power of the free press! Yes, in response to my column, the Feds have changed the Real ID deadline. In fact, they were so terrified of my wrath that they rushed to change that deadline before the column even appeared! Or was even thought of! Incredible, I know, but that must be what happened, because I would never, you know, consult outdated sources or anything.

TL;DR: Dr. Know regrets the error.

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