There’s no such thing as a U.S. Dept. of Trans­porta­tion plate

Albuquerque Journal - - METRO & NM - D’Val West­phal

FAKE PLATE AND LI­CENSE SCAM: Pa­trick Dhooge emails he spot­ted an SUV “trav­el­ing at a high rate of speed, es­ti­mated 70 mph or so, south­bound on Coors be­tween Paseo del Norte and Mon­taño. The li­cense plate on the ve­hi­cle was dark blue with white let­ters that read USADOT. I un­der­stand that cer­tain gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles are al­lowed to ex­ceed the speed limit for emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, but this ve­hi­cle had no lights or siren on. And I thought that U.S. gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles all had the stan­dard gov­ern­ment plate. Is this li­cense plate for real?”

Un­likely. But wait, there’s more. Dino called to say he had re­cently seen a car with a plac­ard on it cit­ing U.S. Code that the driver was a trav­eler and so did not need a driver’s li­cense, specif­i­cally UCC-1308, 207.4, 2-601.3. That’s also ap­par­ently fake.

Re­gard­ing the plate, Ben Cloutier, Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for the New Mex­ico Tax­a­tion & Rev­enue Depart­ment, says, “The New Mex­ico Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Di­vi­sion does not is­sue such a plate.” Back in the spring of 2013, the U.S. Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion “posted a warn­ing re­gard­ing fraud­u­lent DOT Driver’s Li­censes and Li­cense Plates” that in­cluded, “The United States Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion DOES NOT is­sue Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Li­cense Plates or Driv­ers Li­censes . ... DIS­PLAY of a USDOT li­cense plate on a mo­tor ve­hi­cle is fraud­u­lent. State laws rel­e­vant to driver’s li­cense re­quire­ments and/or ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion are bro­ken when: ... a fraud­u­lent Li­cense Plate is dis­played in lieu of a valid state is­sued li­cense plate.”

Re­gard­ing the li­cense, Cloutier says, “State law re­quires all driv­ers to be li­censed. The Uni­form Com­mer­cial Code does not ap­ply.”

CITY SCOOP ON TRAIL POOP: Stephen O. Fra­zier emails, “There’s a doggy doo prob­lem on the bike/walk­ing trail on the bosque.”

On a re­cent bike ride, he says, “From Alameda to Paseo del Norte I counted 22 piles of dog fe­ces right on the pave­ment of the trail. Their dogs may be their best friend, but there are ob­vi­ously some own­ers who are not their dog’s or the pub­lic’s friend. Would it be un­rea­son­able to expect ... maybe ev­ery ½ mile along that trail ... a lit­tle doggy-bag dis­penser and waste bas­ket?”

Bar­bara L. Tay­lor, di­rec­tor of Al­bu­querque’s Parks and Re­cre­ation Depart­ment, says the “Open Space Di­vi­sion did get their main­te­nance crews out to clean up the messes, and we re­gret al­low­ing the trail to get as bad as your reader re­ported. We do have Mutt Mitt sta­tions at ev­ery pub­lic trail head for the Paseo del Bosque Trail. And Open Space has also in­stalled them along the new crusher fine path­ways.

“The Parks and Re­cre­ation Depart­ment cer­tainly wants peo­ple to en­joy all the trails, river and habi­tat ex­pe­ri­ences that the bosque has to of­fer, but we would like to re­mind every­one that, apart from the birds over which we have no con­trol, the big­gest source of fe­cal con­tam­i­na­tion in the Rio Grande is from dogs . ... We wel­come vol­un­teers who might be will­ing to help keep Mutt Mitt sta­tions stocked at any ad­di­tional lo­ca­tion that might be con­ve­nient for them along the trail. This vol­un­teer pro­gram is very suc­cess­ful in our parks and could be equally suc­cess­ful in the bosque.”

As­sis­tant editorial page ed­i­tor D’Val West­phal tack­les com­muter is­sues for the Metro area on Mon­days. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjour­; or P.O. Drawer J, Al­bu­querque, N.M. 87103.

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