It's a safe estimate that there are as many people turning 21 in Harford County each year as there are county residents graduating from high school.
Give or take a few, this amounts to 3,200 people a year, or about 62 a week. It's hardly an overwhelming number for an operation that handles the volume of people that regularly pass through the doors of Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office in Bel Air.
It seems like a bit much, then, for the MVA to have instituted a practice of obliging anyone younger than 40 to make use of automated kiosks or Internet-based services when doing things like requesting new drivers licenses.
The issue comes up because Charles Robbins, Harford County's liquor inspector, reported to the local liquor board that people turning 21 are getting frustrated at having to wait out the two-week turnaround for such transactions when they're looking to replace their too-young-to-drink vertical licenses with the adult horizontal ones.
Being in a hurry to buy alcohol isn't a particularly good state of mind, but the policy, noted on the MVA website as having gone into effect on April 1, is a bit much. Denying services to adults 21 to 39 that are available to people 40 and older is terribly unfair, and fairly arbitrary. On the whole, anyone who pays taxes and the requisite drivers license fees should be equally eligible to make use of the services offered by the MVA.
The imposition of this bureaucratic inconvenience for a substantial portion of the driving public is something that needs to be reversed, or more uniformly imposed, in short order.
It's one thing to deny service to people younger than 21, who are trying to buy alcohol, it's quite another to deny access to people younger than 40, who are seeking a rudimentary government service.