The California Department of Motor Vehicles: Brief History and Description of Services Offered

The DMV (Department of
Motor Vehicles) in California is responsible for issuing licenses to all
drivers in California. The Department of Motor Vehicles also issues license
plates and registrations for all cars, boats, motorcycles and other motor vehicles
within the state. The headquarters for the DMV of California is located in
Sacramento. The California DMV is part of the state business, transportation,
and housing agency. There are local offices in almost every part of the state
for the convenience of California residents. As of the end of 2007 there were
9000 employees of the department. Around 37% of the employees worked at the
departments headquarters in Sacramento. The remaining employees of the
department worked at the various branches located throughout the state.


of the California Department of Motor Vehicles

The state of California
issued legislature in 1901 that required counties and cities throughout the
state to issue licenses and registrations for several types of wheeled
vehicles. The duty to implement a statewide system for this process fell to the
secretary of state between the years 1905 to 1913. The responsibility of
registering motor vehicles was given to the Department of Engineering in 1913.
Both licenses and registrations became a mandatory requirement for all in
December of 1913.


The Vehicle Act in 1915
established the first DMV. In 1921 the DMV was placed within the Department of
Finance. Authorization to appoint traffic officers as well as inspectors was
given to the department in 1923. These officers and inspectors were eventually
employed by the Department of California Highway Patrol in 1947. The statewide
license fee came into effect in 1936 and took the place of the personal
property taxes which cities and counties were taking to levy the immense
traffic seen in their areas. There is question about the differing pass rates
for obtaining driver’s licenses within certain counties. In 2009, studies showed
that the Laguna Hills DMV had an extremely lenient pass rate while in Santa Ana
less than half of the individuals taking the test passed.


DMV Services

The DMV of California
offers many services to the residents of the state. Individuals residing in the
state of California can visit a license branch in the state to obtain a drivers
license or state id. Residents also must visit the branch in order to register
their vehicles, boats and motorcycles.


The DMV of California
offers their services online as well. This makes registering your vehicle or
renewing your license plate or driver’s license easier. Through the California
government Department of Motor Vehicle website a resident can renew their
registration, renew a driver’s license or state id, change their address, order
special interest plates or make an appointment to visit the branch.


If you reside in the state
of California and need to register your vehicle or obtain a driver’s license,
you will need to visit the DMV. It is recommended that you make an appointment
for your visit to avoid waiting in long lines. Renewal of all registrations and
licenses can be done online, which offers the fastest way to obtain a new


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