Li­cense to laugh: Vir­ginia DMV tells pranksters to get photo IDs re­done

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Zinie Chen Samp­son

RICH­MOND—TheVir­gini­aDepart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles on Dec. 20 said it is or­der­ing two men to get their li­cense pho­tos re­taken — this time with­out the red-painted skin, spray-on hair and fake teeth — or lose their driv­ing priv­i­leges.

Will Car­sola and Dave Ste­wart posted In­ter­net videos of their pranks, which in­cluded scenes of Mr. Car­sola spray-paint­ing his face and­neck­brightredandMr.Ste­wart paint­ing­th­etopofhishead­blackand stickingarowof­fake­buck­teethin­his mouth in an Asian car­i­ca­ture. They each en­ter the DMV of­fice and re­turn­with­real­li­cens­eswith­pho­to­sof their new like­nesses.

In an­other video, a shaved­headed Mr. Car­sola comes out of the DMV with a photo of his eyes crossed, and an­other friend ob­tains a li­cense af­ter spray-paint­ing on a thick, black beard and a sin­gle, con­tin­u­ous eye­brow.

“We have sent let­ters to the in­di­vid­u­als that ba­si­cally re­quire them to ap­pear at DMV to reap­ply for theirdriver’sli­cens­esand­sur­ren­der any pre­vi­ously is­sued li­censes” within 15 days, DMV spokesman Bill Foy said.

Mr. Ste­wart and Mr. Car­sola, both 27, said they will get their “real” pho­tos taken, and were sur­prised at how easy it was to get their driver’s li­censes, out­landish getups not­with­stand­ing.

The in­de­pen­dent film­mak­ers did the pranks as part of a new movie, “and it es­ca­lated from there,” Mr. Ste­wart said.

“We were like, ‘There’s no way this is go­ing to work,’ ” Mr. Ste­wart said in a tele­phone in­ter­view. “Even when I did the kung-fu guy, it sur­prised me how lit­tle they laughed. Will had red skin, and they didn’t even tell him to come back when it was nor­mal.”

The videos, which ap­pear on YouTube and un­der “DMVDriver­sLi­censePrank”and “Get­ting over on the DMV,” have prompted the state agency to re­view its cur­rent ID-photo poli­cies, and to con­sider tight­en­ing its rules re­gard­ing cus­tomers sus­pected of be­ing in dis­guise or dis­tort­ing their ap­pear­ance.

But Mr. Foy ac­knowl­edged that it is walk­ing a fine line to have DMV em­ploy­ees de­ter­mine whether a cus­tomer “looks right.”

“Would we ever ask a can­cer pa­tient why her wig doesn’t look right, or ask a teen with se­vere acne if that’s the way he wants to look?” Mr. Foy said. And, though DMV­work­ers­mayen­cour­agepeo- ple not to cross their eyes or scrunch up their face in pho­tos — which peo­ple pur­posely do — “there’s noth­ing to say that if they want to use that on their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card, they can’t.”

Mr. Ste­wart said it was ob­vi­ous that the over­sized plas­tic teeth and spray-painted face weren’t phys­i­cal dis­fig­ure­ments, and spec­u­lated that ap­a­thetic DMV work­ers prob­a­bly just didn’t feel like ques­tion­ing their ap­pear­ance.

“Ithin­knowthey’reem­bar­rassed and­prob­a­bl­yare­go­ing­tobe[ticked] off,” he said. “I think their card was pulled.”

Mr. Foy said the men’s ac­tions weren’t il­le­gal, be­cause they didn’t ob­scure their ap­pear­ance with hats or­sun­glasses,but­they­did­abusethe sys­tem.

“Usin­gadis­guise­whileob­tain­ing a driver’s li­cense is not a joke,” he said.

But some­one must think the prankswere­funny:The­v­ideoshave logged more than 500,000 views.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Driven to ridicule: Will Car­sola (left) and Dave Ste­wart mug with their Vir­ginia driver’s li­censes. The DMV told them to get their pho­tos re­taken with­out dis­guises or lose their driv­ing priv­i­leges.

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