Not Driving

My driving licence expired at 00:01 on the 15th of March, when I was offically 70 years old. Regular readers will know that my online application to renew it, submitted on the 8th of February, has stalled. No new licence has arrived, and a recent enquiry with the authorities returned the answer that they will not investigate anything until 10 weeks have passed.

A friend sent me a link that you can use to check your licence status, and mine showed as ‘Expired’. I could carry on driving on the basis that my renewal has been applied for, but that would mean taking the chance of not being stopped by the police, or being involved in an accident. Sticking to the letter of the law, an expired licence means I would not be driving legally, so my car insurance would be invalid too. That would potentially allow the police to seize my car and impound it.

Not worth the risk.

After 53 years, it feels strange. Strange not to be able to say something like “Just popping down to the shops for some bread”. Strange not to be able to take Ollie to the Vet unless Julie is at home to drive the car.

Just completely strange.

I am lucky. Julie can drive either car, and she only works part-time. But what of single people, or widows and widowers? Anyone reliant on a car in a small place like Beetley who falls victim to the administrative delays of the driving licence authority is sure to be stuck. A four-mile walk to the nearest town on country roads? No thank you. The buses that only run three times a day might be an option, but make sure you don’t miss the last one back in the afternoon.

A taxi each way? At £10 pounds per trip, paying £20 to go into town to buy a £1.60 loaf of bread seems harsh.

Many people live happily without never driving. But in a country village not having access to a car makes life difficult, especially in bad weather.

Looks like I am going to have to completely readjust my thinking for a while.

76 thoughts on “Not Driving

  1. Thats a really strange situation now. I am feeling so sorry for this inconvenience. Perhaps the deadline will be extended later, after several people certainly did not think about this matter, due to the lockdown and the authorities did not work promptly. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone keeps telling me those personal stories, Carol. You were lucky to apply last year. Apparently, 2022 has ‘surprised’ the DVLA by the volume of 70 year-olds having to re-apply. You might think they would know that, as they hold a record of all our dates of birth.
      Best wishes, Pete. x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This would be hard for me, Pete. I don’t drive that much, but I appreciate the independence of being able to hop in my car when I want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is all online, and I made a ‘declaration’. To be honest, the whole process is just nonsense, Theo.
      My frustration levels have reached 75%, but my stress levels are in excess of 100%.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What B.S. The British authority certainly does not have a monopoly on bureaucratic madness, but they do sure do bring a certain enthusiasm to the execution of it.

    So sorry Pete.

    Best regards,

    CT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the situation in a nutshell, GP. I may not need to go anywhere all week, but when I want to drive somewhere, I don’t want to have to think about not being able to.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Pete! I cannot even imagine what that interminable 3 days has been for you! For me, it would be like dying. The closest market is 1.5 miles away. Not a TERRIBLE walk for a normal person, but for a couch potato?!? Then the groceries have to be brought home! Everything else is further away. It’s bad enough that gas is $6 and $7 a gallon, but not being able to use the car would be ‘way worse. I hope this is resolved in your favor ASAP! God bless you, Julie and Ollie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words, dear Mona. With our nearest shops 4 miles away, I have to rely on my wife driving every time now. As for fuel, the price has sky-rocketed here and is currently the equivalent of $11.21 a gallon.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

  5. Renewing the driver’s licence here [every seven years] is easy. You just have to pass a test of your eye sight at the local office and get a temporary licence which is valid until they send you the new one.
    Good luck with yours.
    Here, for us, it would really be difficult as there’s no public transport in the city and we live about 2.5 miles from the city center with, e.g., the supermarket. We’d have to use a taxi ver so often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same deal for me here, Pit. I live 4 miles away from the nearest small town with shops. Not being able to use the car means I have to plan everything around my wife being able to drive.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. (1) “My driving licence expired at 00:01 on the 15th of March, when I was officially 70 years old.” I’ve always wondered what the story was behind the expression, “Beware the Ides of March!”
    (2) My Amish friends wonder why you haven’t gotten with the times, and bought yourself a Hackney horse and Wolfsburg buggy?
    (3) Now is the time to invest in teleportation technology.
    (4) If you just want to pop down to the mom and pop boulangerie, why not buy yourself a Vurtego pogo stick?
    (5) My friend Keanu Reeves, who’s up to speed when it comes to travel by bus, warns you to “Stay off the bus!”
    (6) Overheard:
    Pete: “Taxi driver, can you take me into town right away? I need to buy a loaf of bread.”
    Taxi driver: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the heck are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who do you think you’re talking to?” *
    (7) My friend Alex DeLarge says you should not readjust your thinking. “Just relax, and peel an orange.”
    (8) Miss Daisy is offering to drive you around. Give her a call.

    * I’m happy to report that the taxi driver has cleaned up his language over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Our public transport situation in this country is lamentable; we both know why that is, of course. Manchester is currently showing the way forward: more power to Andy Burnham’s elbow. Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Towns and cities here in Norfolk have good transport, Jon. If I lived in the local town, Dereham, not driving would be bearable. But just 4 miles away in a village with no shops, it becomes a major issue.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have few polite words to offer in comment about this clash with malign [sic – it is evil in its effects even when not in its intents] bureaucracy. “Unacceptable” is an apopletically purple-coloured and impotent response, but all I have. Keep fighting! Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. We pay taxes taxes and more taxes fr the services that allow us to live our lives…and when they can’t be bothered to do it efficiently, it calls all sorts of things into question.

    Like

    1. The official line is that they did not anticipate so many people at the age of 70 renewing their licences in 2022. I find that ridiculous, as they have the database that tells them who has to renew, and they sent me out a letter telling me to do it.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have done that, Elizabeth. We have compulsory renewal at the age of 70, and I did that online six weeks before the day. However, delays at the licencing authority are causing me these problems. A large number of people all over Britain are affected if they were born in 1952.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Due to an undiagnosed health issue, I haven’t driven since November. My wife won’t drive, so its been a very strange three months, I’ve driven almost every day for nearly 60 years.
    News today, there’re watching Netflix at home instead of working at the DVLA. Good luck with seeing your licence this side if Easter, we have cabbies off the road for the same reason.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It is so annoying doing everything you have to do and still being foiled by “the system”. Total disregard of anyone’s needs. How arrogant government has become. I feel for you. It’s a real adjustment but I hope it will soon be resolved.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, I hope things get sorted soon. Where I lived there were a few shops, but it wasn’t ideal in the long-run, and I would have been seriously limited after a while. There were trains and buses, though, but it all required planning. In some areas, it would have been totally impossible. The same is the case in the little hamlet where my father was born. They do have shops who bring supplies into the place a couple of times a week, and the baker also brings bread several times a week, but you need to be well organised, and if you forget something, well… You’ve had it or have to rely on somebody else with a car to take you. There is no public transport there at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Transport in Beetley is limited, and I get frustrated if I have to rely on Julie to drive me everywhere. So my fingers are crossed that it will be renewed before the summer.
      Thanks, Olga.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. No medical. You have to make a ‘medical declaration’ on the online form. My main issue seems to be that I had no valid passport to establish identitiy online, so had to use my NI number. That means the DVLA has to check with another agency to verify that I am me!
      You can renew your driving licence three months before your 70th birthday using the online facility. Here’s a link for you to bookmark.
      https://dvladigital.blog.gov.uk/2022/01/14/how-to-renew-your-driving-licence-online-if-youre-70-or-over/
      I stupidly thought that 6 weeks before my birthday was enough time!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I feel for you Pete. I lived and drove for forty-two years in New Zealand. Unlike here, in that country, owning a vehicle was and is absolutely essential. Here there are far too many vehicles struggling with each other on narrow, often winding roads, never designed for motor vehicles, with the exception of motoways!!! I gladly gave up driving soon after coming back to the land of my birth. I buy anything I need via this laptop, in complete safety. Maybe you should try doing the same? At my age (74), my reaction times are no longer what they once were. On the news this morning I saw a piece on BBC East about a woman of my age who is going to be charged over the death of an infant, she ran over…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jack. I like to get out of the village sometimes, and with my wife still working 20+ hours a week and also often visiting her children in south Norfolk, I feel the absence of driving a car very acutely. But as i said, I am ‘readjusting’, and if it comes to it and I have no licence, I will plan how to cope.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

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