US woman’s last name too long for driver’s license

2013-09-14 09:07

Honolulu – A US woman’s last name is so long she can’t get a driver’s license with her correct name.

Janice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele is fighting to make it happen.

The documents only have room for 35 characters, so Hawaii County instead issued her driver’s license and her state ID with the last letter of her name chopped off. And it omitted her first name.

The 54-year-old wrote her mayor and city councilwoman for help, but the county said the state of Hawaii’s computer system they used wouldn’t allow names longer than 35 characters.

Her name has 35 letters plus a mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet, called an okina.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele got the name when she married her Hawaiian husband in 1992. He used only the one name, which his grandfather gave him. The name came to his grandfather in a dream that also told him he would have a grandson.

Her husband died in 2008, but he had similar problems when he was alive, she told The Associated Press.

The name has layers of meanings. One, she said, is “When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos.” It also references the origins of her and her husband’s family.

Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele was compelled to bring attention to the issue after a policeman last month gave her a hard time about her driver’s license when he pulled her over for a traffic stop.

“I said wait a minute, this is not my fault. This is the county’s fault that I don’t have an ID that has my name correctly,” she said.

Caroline Sluyter, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said Thursday the state is working to increase space for names on driver’s licenses and ID cards. By the end of the year, the cards will 40 characters for first and last names and 35 characters for middle names, she said.

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