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OPINION | DRIVETIME MAHATMA: State says digital DL still ahead

by Frank Fellone | May 15, 2021 at 8:02 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Digital driver's licenses pushed in some states; critics concerned (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 09, 2021.) Where is Arkansas on this type program? -- Robert

Dear Robert: Your question causes us to think, again, that we suffer from perseveration. That is, repeating a word or phrase in the absence or cessation of a stimulus, and usually caused by a brain injury or disorder. Also known as babbling.

Oh, yeah, our mama dropped us on our knuckle head as a small child. The effects persist.

Let's proceed, and ask this question yet again of the Department of Finance & Administration.

Dudes, what's up with the digital driver's license?

The patient, but not perseverating, Scott Hardin of DF&A reminds us that Act 557 of 2017 authorized DF&A to implement and issue digital driver's licenses.

And so the Office of Driver Services/Motor Vehicle is in the process of having meetings to review materials and monitor the progress of other states in order to have the optimal digital DL in our fair state.

This is a priority, he said, although it's taking time.

Vanity plate seen on a Subaru: BAWAHA

Most Learned Maharishi: My math says I am penalized $68 annually for respecting the health of goddess earth by driving an electric vehicle. Gas guzzlers average 25 mpg, gasoline tax in Arkansas is 24.5 cents per gallon, and we average 13,500 miles of driving per year. The driver of a regular jalopy pays $132 a year in gas taxes while I pay $200 for the pleasure of driving past every gas station. Where will I get my fried burritos and orange Slurpees anymore? So much for enlightened policy-making. -- Tree Hugger in Paradise

Dear Hugger: We love trees, and thank you for reviving a topic from a recent column. That is, the added annual registration fee for an electric vehicle, to make up for the gas tax not paid by the owners of such vehicles. The fee is $100 for hybrids, and $200 for fully electric vehicles.

Your math is interesting. We don't dispute it. By your calculating, the self-chosen few who drive an electric vehicle get it in the neck to the tune of $68 every year. Remember that no good deed, even being environmentally conscious, goes unpunished.

Where did this fee come from? It was passed by the General Assembly, also known as the Legislature, also known as the wellspring of democratic government in our small, wonderful state. Apparently, the Ledge didn't get the memo saying the earth is a goddess. Please reissue.

This naturally brings to mind H.L. Mencken: "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage."

Vanity plate: 221BBKR. For those who came in late, that's an obvious reference to 221B Baker Street, the address of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Our mind says there used to be a Holmes society of some kind in Little Rock. Members -- still out there?


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