Costs of Getting Back on the Road

Nearly two years after being stopped for my first DUI, I’m anxiously awaiting the eligibility date for the restoration of my driving privileges and I’m still paying, literally and figuratively, for my poor decision making.

In March, I wrote about my experience, specifically the overall cost of my two DUIs.  When I added it all up, the estimated total was $10,066.00, without counting the cost of ignition interlock, increased insurance costs or lost wages.

I still can’t account for increased insurance or lost wages, mostly because I hate math but also because I think I’d cry at the actual amount, especially considering I am still unemployed.  I can, however, update the total with the expected cost of getting my license reinstated.

I recently received the Restoration Requirements Letter from PennDot, which told me what I have to do, as well as how much I have to pay to get my driving privileges back.

First, I had to send a $25 restoration fee, proof that I don’t own my car, and an application for an ignition interlock license along with another $28 application fee.

After mailing PennDot all the forms and a $53 check to cover the state’s fees, I had to call a company that provides ignition interlock systems to set up the install.  This requires that I send another form, to prove that I don’t own a vehicle.  Thankfully, this form doesn’t require another fee.

Once the form was processed, I was able to schedule the installation of the ignition interlock device.  Pennsylvania state law requires that ignition interlock be installed on all vehicles registered in the offender’s name.  Because I don’t own any vehicles, I only have to have it installed on the car I drive which will amount to $158.40.

In addition, the machine must be calibrated monthly, for a cost of $106 per month.  I am required to keep the ignition interlock on my car for one year, which adds up to $1324.40 for installation and maintenance.

When you add that total to the PennDot fees, I’m looking at a grand total of 1246.40 to be allowed to drive again.  After all I’ve paid so far and how difficult the past year has been, this doesn’t really seem to be too much to pay to restore my independence.

I have to cringe though, when add that to my previous total.  The overall estimated cost of my two DUIs is roughly 11,390.40, disregarding insurance increases and lost wages.

I could have done a lot of travelling with that money, but instead I’ve been living in a room at my parent’s house trying to make ends meet.  Although I’m cringing at the thought of having to pay more money, I’m eager to start driving again, get back on my feet and starting moving away from my past mistakes one step at a time.

This lesson is still being learned.

Note: Upon installation of the Ignition Interlock, I was informed that the original quote was incorrect.  I have since adjusted the above totals to reflect the new information about the charges. -B 


Thoughts on taming my inner perfectionist…

Sometime during college, between literary lectures and creative writing workshops, my inner perfectionist woke up and starting comparing me to everyone else and screaming that every word was pure crap, and never ever good enough.  She stuck to me like glue, and I just can’t seem to get rid of her.

I used to write unabashedly and often, I wrote about everything, an idea would pop into my head and flow seamlessly onto the paper, uninterrupted by any internal editor or scathing imaginary critic screaming it was worthless junk.  It wasn’t always good, but I wrote because I loved writing.

I used to draw and paint too.  I would just create because I could.  I didn’t self criticize or think about the opinions of others; I just did it because I liked it.

It seems that somewhere along the line I stopped being able to just be openly creative.  I have the occasional wildly creative burst, but mostly writing is a series of fits and starts followed by holding down the backspace key until the page is blank again and starting over until I just give up.  I usually move on to something easier, like doing laundry or attempting to sit on my own head.  And paintings or drawings almost always end up in the trash.

I really hate the perfectionist, she’s a judgmental bitch.  She very rarely sleeps, mostly only when I do, and sometimes even then she’s waking me up trying to fix things.  I’d like to learn how to knock her out.  Or better yet, turn her into one of those friends you hardly ever see but can always call on when you need them.  I’d really rather hang out with the idealistic, creative, quirky chick more often; I’ve always liked that girl much better.

The way I see it, the more creative opportunities I give myself, the more chance I have to ignore that perfectionist part of me and make her learn her place.  So my mission is to just keep making plans with my inner creative chick without inviting the perfectionist, maybe if I do it often enough she’ll start to get the hint and chill out a bit –I’d really like it best if we could all coexist together.

From here on out, it’s going to be: create, create, create.  Striving for perfection can come later.