Friday, October 26, 2012

license to kill

Well, at least to drive.

You may recall that one of my tasks on my summer odyssey was to get a driver's license from my legal state of residence: Nevada (from the mountain to the prairie to the ocean white with foam).  The application process was simple.  Getting it in my pocket was a rather convoluted procedure.

The license showed up at my place in Nevada just as advertised within 10 days of my application.  From there it went to Seattle.  A Melaque friend muled it down to me in late August.

But because we have both been away from Melaque, it did not end up in my hands until this week.  And its arrival is timely.

I will be heading north in a few days to get my Oregon house on the market.  And I will need a driver's license to rent a car for my month-long visit to Oregon. 

I doubt rental car agents in The States would be as understanding about my hole-through-the-title Oregon license as was the federal policeman on my way to San Miguel de Allende (an international journey).

Other than that one incident, I never felt the least bit concerned that I was driving around with an invalid license -- a condition that makes my automobile insurance null and void.  In fact, it gave me a certain sense of freedom.

Even having everything in legal shape does not change that feeling of freedom here in Mexico.


Felipe Zapata said...

If you are the cause of a traffic mishap in Mexico in which there is a fatality, and you have no valid insurance, a prison stretch is a real possibility. I wonder how your "sense of freedom" would be affected in that case? In short, driving here without car insurance is colossally stupid.

Of course, many Mexicans do not have insurance, either because they cannot afford it and/or they are colossally stupid, which is why you will see them abandoning their vehicles and running off wildly on foot after a serious accident.

Steve Cotton said...

It turns out I would have bee insured because I had a valid license.  I just did not have it with me.  But, as you know, insurance polices are always in danger of being misinterpreted -- for the benefit of the insurer.

You may recallthat a local blogger and his RV were held in police custody here a couple of years ago until insurance matters could be worked out.  Having one's papers in order is good advice   

Tancho said...

 You could get a Mexican license which is relatively easy to get.  Being involved in a car crash where the guy who hit us had no insurance, I can personally attest that it gets very complicate here in Mexico. Even though we had insurance there are many things t hat procedurally make no sense at all.
We have insurance, but almost all my Mexican friends do not, simply because having it down here is no guarantee that your rights will be honored and poor expereince with claims etc, convince them even more not to have it.

Steve Cotton said...

I am seriously thinking of getting a Mexican driver's license and re-licensing the Shiftless Escape as a Mexican truck.  After all, if I want to head toward Mexican citizenship, I should have the accoutrements of nationality.

brenda said...

Glad to hear you are legal again. I agree with Felipe that especially being a foreigner here it is insane to drive without positive proof of valid insurance.  I don't even want to think of the repercussions if you would have had an accident.  The thought of a Mexican jail cell does not jive with my thoughts of freedom either. 

Wouldn't it be easier to take your vehicle back over the border north and sell it and buy a vehicle in Mexico than going through all the import stuff to have it here legally?  Just thinking that as you may have to take it to the border to import it anyway and you are always talking about things that are not functioning well on it.
Is it a year that can be imported?

Steve Cotton said...

 It is still in the import envelope.  I am not certain though I want to pay $36,000 (US) to replace it with its current equivalent model. But there is the take-it-north option on one last ride.

Shannon Casey said...

When my Canadian drivers license was about to expire and I needed to get a Mexican license, I was told by a neighbour that the camera equipment in the office in Patzcuaro was not currently working, so I would have to go to Area de Rosales, as Todd had also recently had to do. 

I gathered up all the the information that I had been told I would need and headed out early in the morning to Area de Rosales, about an hour, mas o menos, from Patzcuaro. After waiting in line for about an hour the rather surly young man at the counter told me that I didn't have enough photo copies of just about everything. There was a copy place down the street so I went off to get more copies (lots more copies) and then went back to stand in line for about another hour. 

When I reached the the front of the line again the surly young man said that my CFE bill was not current enough. I wasn't even sure we had received a newer one yet, but I drove all the way back to Patzcuaro to check. I found the new CFE bill but by now the office in Area de Rosales was closing in about 45 minutes and I was in Patzcuaro. I actually made it back just before they closed the doors. I did have insurance. The doors were closed but there were still a lot of people there and I had to wait about another 45 minutes and it was very hot because the door was closed. 

When I finally made it back to Surly he said " OK everything is in order, but you realize, don't you, that I can't give you the license here because you live in Patzcuaro?"

I eventually go my license a week or so later in Patzcuaro.

Steve Cotton said...

 I can see another post in my future.

Kim G said...

I've wondered about the utility of getting a fake license to hand to mordida-seeking cops. That way if they want to hang onto it, you can say, "go ahead."  

By the way, has a good article on what it takes to import a vehicle to Mexico yourself. Needless to say, it's not for the bureaucracy-shy to undertake.

I'm also curious about how you managed to obtain Nevada residency without actually renting a place there. Do you have a friend who lives there?


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where you can't register your car without insurance.