Roadtrip

August 2012

Learn what's happening with motor vehicle enforcement around the country.

Region I

Pennsylvania: Donate Life- PA Busts Organ Donation Myths with New Videos

As part of its 2012 organ and tissue donor campaign, Donate Life Pennsylvania (Donate Life-PA), a partnership between the state’s two organ procurement organizations and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, have unveiled two new videos designed to help debunk the myths around organ and tissue donation. In an effort to engage Pennsylvanians and raise awareness of organ and tissue donation, the videos will be shared through social media channels. According to an August 2011 survey, one in four Pennsylvanians who are not currently registered as organ and tissue donors believe that, if they were ever seriously injured, doctors would not try to save their life—and have not become donors for that reason. Based on this data, one of the myth-busting videos was specifically created to address this myth. The second video is aimed at dispelling the myth that monetary status plays a role in an individual’s ability to receive an organ transplant. Nearly 30 percent of Pennsylvanians who stated that they are “not at all likely” to become a registered organ donor stated that receiving information that dispels common myths about organ and tissue donation would motivate them to become a donor. To view myth-busting videos, visit movemag.org.

D.C.: DMV/HIV Program Yields Big Results

As a line of people snaked out the door of the Penn Branch DMV in Southeast D.C. one morning, Stephanie, a slight woman with a gentle voice, took advantage of her captive audience to make what would otherwise be a strange pitch in a government office—get a free HIV test, she offered, and you can receive a $7 credit towards your DMV services. Not everyone took her up on the offer, but others were handed a red number card and told to wait for one of two testers to call them into a private room. The testing, which has gone on at the Penn Branch DMV since October 2010, is a first-of-its-kind attempt in the nation to bring HIV testing directly to D.C. residents. Since it started, some 8,000 people have taken the test—double what was originally expected. In May alone, 600 people accepted Stephanie’s pitch. As D.C. battles an HIV/AIDS epidemic that rivals some African countries, testing is only one front; but without it, more substantial gains cannot be made. The test is quick and painless—an oral swab yields results within 20 minutes. If a resident comes up positive (of those 8,000 tested, less than one percent have), they are offered the chance to go directly to Family and Medical Counseling Service offices for counseling, medical services and a full diagnostic exam.

Region II

Kentucky: ‘I Support Veterans’ License Plate Now Available

Kentuckians can show their support for veterans with newly available vehicle license plates. The new plates—available even to those who are not veterans themselves—show support for veterans and also raise funds for veterans programs. The “I Support Veterans” license plate will give an opportunity for all Kentuckians who wish to support veterans’ services to do so, and to show that support by putting this license plate on their vehicle. The new license plates were designed in response to citizens’ interest in supporting veterans.

Virginia: DMV Message Program Reaches 1 Million Mark

One million Virginians have signed up to receive notices from the Virginia DMV via email, text or phone message. Since each piece of U.S. mail not processed by DMV saves 59 cents in printing, processing and postage fees, the million customers are saving $590,000. Customers sign up to receive electronic renewal notices for vehicle registrations (decals) and driver’s licenses by creating a myDMV account at www.dmvNOW.com/myDMV. Using a personal identification number (PIN), customers check a box indicating they want to receive decal renewal notices via email, phone or text message, and they can also manage their DMV records without visiting an office. With a myDMV account, customers see all of their DMV information on one page including when their driver’s license and decals expires, and their safe driving points. Customers may access their myDMV account using a Social Security number or DMV customer number.

Region III

Iowa: Law Waives Truck Test for Experienced Vets

An Iowa law that soon takes effect lets people with recent experience driving large trucks in the military obtain an Iowa commercial driver’s license without taking the drive skills test normally required. The law lets DOT waive the testing requirement for Iowans who are on active duty or separated honorably in the past 90 days. They must meet certain experience and safety requirements set by FMCSA. Applicants must be Iowa residents and hold valid Iowa driver’s licenses. The new law does not waive the written test for the commercial license.

Region III

Ohio: State Highway Patrol Looking to Increase Its Ranks

The State Highway Patrol is looking for more than a few good men—and women. The Patrol wants to add 180 troopers to its force and has scheduled two academy training courses this fall. Ninety cadets are being sought for each of the 22-week courses, starting in September and November in Columbus. The last class began this spring with only 70 recruits. With the 180 potential recruits, the Patrol hopes for a net gain of 120 troopers statewide when candidates graduate in spring 2013. The back-to back classes are a new strategy needed to meet the goal of increasing the number of troopers from about 1,400 to 1,520 —an increase of about 9 percent. In the past, the patrol occasionally has gone up to 1.5 years between classes at the academy. Ohio law sets the maximum number of troopers at 1,600. An applicant for the academy must be 20 to 34 years old, an Ohio resident, have a high school diploma or general educational development diploma, and a proper state ID with a positive driving record and no felony convictions. A college degree is not required. An applicant also must pass physical fitness requirements, a polygraph test, medical exam and background check. Those accepted will earn $18.66 per hour while attending the academy. Starting salary for a trooper is between $50,000 and $60,000 a year.

Region IV

New Mexico: State to Use Technology to Verify License Information

New technology will soon be used in New Mexico to verify information documents presented by people seeking driver’s licenses. The state is grappling with recurring incidents of fraud, as critics claim New Mexico has become a go-to place nationally for illegal immigrants—or preying criminals representing them—wanting to obtain real driver’s licenses. Critics attribute most of the problem to the 2003 state law that allows foreign nationals to obtain New Mexico licenses, regardless of whether they are in the country legally. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the changes being carried out include getting bar code readers to help verify bank statements and utility bills, and other software to help ensure passports are legitimate. In addition, the Motor Vehicle Division is considering establishing a field office in Albuquerque that would handle all foreign national applicants in the state’s largest city. Other MVD field offices around the state would still handle all types of driver’s license applicants. About 70 percent of New Mexico’s appointments for foreign national licenses are made in Albuquerque. A decision on whether to set up the field office for foreign nationals, who can only obtain licenses through state-run MVD offices, is expected to be made later this summer.