Incorrect interim license issued to KCBS Radio reporter Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan/KCBS Radio

The DMV Gave Me Someone Else's License

KCBS Radio Reporter Tim Ryan's True Story

KCBS Radio Morning News
August 09, 2018 - 3:00 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) -- As California Department of Motor Vehicles officials deal with what angry state legislators are calling "completely unacceptable" customer service and frustrated Californians are waiting months for appointments at DMV offices, KCBS Radio reporter Tim Ryan has his own story to tell. The DMV gave him someone else's driver license.

It all started with a visit to the Redwood City DMV field office in May, where Tim remembers what he called a "chaotic" scene.  He knows the office well: "It's the same one I went into on my 16th birthday to get my original license."

The visit ended with the routine issuance of an interim, or temporary, paper license. These interim licenses are printed on paper and are to be signed by the license holder. They are typically valid for 60 days, by which time the permanent license is expected to have been issued.

Tim recalls signing the document and folding it into his wallet, where it stayed until recently. It was only when he took a closer look that he realized he'd been carrying a license issued to a 57-year-old man living in Palo Alto.

The case of mistaken identity was nearly revealed several weeks ago, when Tim offered his old driver license as identification at an airport TSA checkpoint. The agent noted the license was expired, and Tim offered to show "his" interim license, still unaware that he was carrying someone else's. The TSA agent told him not to bother and waved him through the checkpoint.