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Get a temp license to buy shelter-in-place alcohol

CORRECTION: (Note: your license must have expired, and expired after March 11.)


SENIORS CAN GET A TEMP LICENSE ONLINE: Sondra emails, “Now it’s time to renew. Great. Do it online in the shelter of my home?

“Ah, NO. Only if I’m between the ages of 18 and 79. Well? Now I’m 79 and 24 days and the site won’t let me renew. What am I supposed to do now? As I understand, right now a cop won’t give me a ticket with an expired license, but I probably won’t be able to buy a bottle of wine, which if this is anything like last year’s hurdles (an expired license that required an appointment and $40 worth of fingerprints) I may need several.”

And Sondra is at least half-right. Tom Ponder, who’s 84, called to report he was recently carded at a big-box store and because his license expired during this COVID-19 shutdown of MVD offices, his purchase of Bacardi rum and a few bottles of wine was denied.

By the clerk and her manager.

Tom, a veteran, says he was “humiliated and angry” and decried this “age discrimination.”

Consider it more an insurance policy of sorts by those who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for one of the limited number of liquor licenses in New Mexico. They have said in this column before they don’t want to put it at risk by perhaps selling to a minor, so they card everyone.

And Tom acknowledges that with his personal protective equipment on, he might have passed for younger than his years.

But last week MVD updated its temporary license system to include drivers over age 79, who are required by state law to renew annually in person and take a vision test.

Now they, too, can go to, click on “online services,” then on “eservices,” then “drivers and placards” and finally “Print temporary license or ID.”

(Note: your license must have expired, and expired after March 11.)

Taxation and Revenue Department spokesman Charlie Moore, who handles information for MVD, says that will get drivers to “the 90-day temporary license that we were able to create to help people get through this period. That is a valid, official New Mexico credential that they should be able to use for identification purposes.”

However, “there are some exceptions – people with interlock or DWI temporary licenses, commercial driver’s licenses and limited licenses can’t get the new temporary.”

THOSE EXPIRED PAPER TAGS ARE GOOD TO GO: Several readers, including Cindy, have asked what to do about those temporary tags that have since expired. While one reader says the dealer offered to keep issuing him temporary tags, that doesn’t work with private sales, and with MVD offices closed, there’s no way to get your permanent plate.

Moore says, “That is covered by the executive order the governor issued in March, which directed State Police not to cite people whose tags expire during the closures, and which asks local law enforcement to do the same.”

WATCH FOR FOLKS ON TWO WHEELS: This is Bicycle Awareness Month, and especially with the quarantine and nice weather more folks are out there. The New Mexico Department of Transportation is encouraging cyclists to share their experiences using #BikesUnite.

And and NMDOT news release is also reminding drivers to look for bicyclists before turning, merging into bicycle lanes and opening doors next to traffic. To not make sudden right turns after passing a bicyclist on your right. To watch for sudden movements and lane changes by riders. And to keep your distance from bicyclists and stay alert and avoid distractions.

As for cyclists, they are asked to always wear a helmet; ride with traffic, not against it; obey all traffic signs and signals; ride as far to the right as possible; signal intent to change lanes or turn; make themselves visible with a flashing orange or red light and reflective and light-colored clothing and to be aware of parked cars; watch for open doors.

AND WATCH FOR CARS: A “concerned resident” emails that “during this time of quarantine, more people are taking walks. In North ABQ Acres, we are not blessed with very many sidewalks, and sometimes people have to walk on the asphalt. When I attended Monte Vista Elementary School, we were taught to always walk on the left side of the street so that we would be facing oncoming traffic and be able to see each other.

“Twice now, I have reached the crest of a hill to find two people right in front of me in the middle of my lane walking side by side with their backs to me. In the first instance there were two ladies pushing baby carriages. In the second instance it was a couple walking their big dogs. Fortunately, I have good brakes. Otherwise, it could have been tragic.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, N.M., 87109.


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