Sunday, July 23, 2017

Identification

We are asked to produce an identification document in so many places in our daily lives as proof of identity. These include, among others, airports, department stores, doctors office, hospitals, liquor stores, etc. etc.
 
In USA and most other countries, a driving license is accepted as a de facto proof of identity. Some people, especially while traveling in a foreign country, show their passports for identification purpose.
 
Sample California Driver's License
 
Something interesting happened about 2 years ago when we were traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to attend a marriage. At the San Francisco Airport, we were asked to produce our identification card by the airport security. My wife showed her driver’s license. The security guy returned that and said “this is an expired license and I cannot accept it”. (My wife renewed her license a few weeks ago and kept both the old and new licenses in her purse. She should have discarded the old expired license. But did not.)
 
She said she is sorry and showed her renewed new license. The airport security accepted that and we were on our way to Puerto Vallarta.
 
I was pissed off at the airport security. But did not say anything or argue. There are some places it is better to keep quiet and grin f**k them and not invite any trouble. Airport security is one of them.
 
My point is why they would not accept an expired driving license as proof of identification. The valid authorization to drive a car may have expired but the information on that license (Name, Date of Birth, Address, Height, Weight, Color of Eyes, Color of Hair) do not expire, unless you were a Clark Kent then and now a Spiderman.
 
The airport security is supposed to verify your identity for the purpose of matching it to the ticket, i.e. name match. Where does it say it has to be a non expired license?
 
I am thinking of writing a letter to my Senator to change the law if there is such a law. Most of the times these “authorities” will not accept an expired license for identification purpose.

12 comments:

  1. Half the people blindly follow the rules without common sense.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. The problem is they don't even know if there is such a rule in effect.

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  2. What if she had forgotten to renew that licence and it's a recently expired one? Would she not have been allowed to travel?

    Rules shouldn't be followed so strictly. There should be other ways to check or the authorities should be more lenient when they realize that genuine mistakes happen with everyone.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. If you have an expired license (even by a day), they are not accepting that and will not be allowed to travel. I want to change that.

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  3. A document needs to be valid to be accepted as proof ... this applies in all govt sectors I think ...tomorrow if they permit someone whose license is not valid and there is some issue later he would be questioned rt ? It's ok for them to follow protocol ....only misuse is wrong I feel

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    1. Thanks for your comments Jaish. I agree with you that there is such a law. I would like to change that law for identification purpose. Just because my driver's license expired, my name and photo does not become invalid/changed. I am the same person on the photo with the same name.

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  4. Hehe...Clark Kern then and Spiderman now ...that line made me laugh in the midst of a serious matter you have brought out here

    Most often we don't question the authorities. We just follow. Like you said some places it's better not to invite trouble is how most of us feel.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sujatha. In some places it is better not to invite trouble.

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  5. I agree with your sentiments. Last weekend, I had to travel from Gurgaon to Jaipur by RSRTC Volvo bus. For hours I struggled to book the ticket online, but due to some tech glitch in the website, I was unable to do so. I called the booking office at Delhi and shared my predicament. He suggested I come personally and buy the ticket from the counter.

    And that was some 35 kms away and it was not feasible for me to travel 2 hours back into the city (at peak time) for the ticket, so my friend asked his colleague to buy the ticket from the counter and share the ticket image.

    Before boarding the bus at Gurgoan, I showed the image of the ticket which had my name and age to the TC. He refused to acknowledge that ticket. He said that I must show him the physical ticket. I told him to match my ticket details with my ID proof and also check the details in his passenger list. But he just didnt budge. It took a lot of convincing from my friends and some other passengers in the bus for him to allow me in the bus.

    It's so annoying when these 'officials' follow rules blindly. But yes, it does not do us any good to take pangas with them.

    Gosh! my comment is a post in itself :P

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    1. Sometimes the rules state such things explicitly, sometimes the official misinterprets the rules, and sometimes the official's ego or other concerns come in the way of right work. If we replace official in the line before with our lawmakers, HR departments or religious leaders, we end up with the same result.

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  6. I thinking checking the Validity is very important as what if, the person couldn't renew or was not allowed to renew for a very specific reason. Rules however annoying they might be are made after deliberation and should be followed. Sorry about you being pissed of though.

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  7. Government agencies and their workers/officials do not work for you and me; they work to save their own skin. Anything with an iota of risk is undesirable. I think that the security guy was not in the wrong: if something bad happened, like a terrorist attack by a person using a forged ID, he could be held liable. And he did not have a way to find out if the ID was forged or just expired (do they have access to internet in the security check areas?).

    From the criteria that you listed, other than one's date of birth, I think all of them can change.

    Also, if I need to use your argument, can I say Shalktimaan and Gangadhar?

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