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California Department of Motor Vehicles offers update on services

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is announcing a series of proactive changes to policy and state law designed to assist drivers during the Corona-Virus outbreak.

120-Day Extension for drivers 70 years old and older:

California law requires that all drivers who are 70 years and older must renew their driving privilege in-person at a DMV Field Office.  Conventional wisdom suggests that mature drivers may begin to lose the skill, the knowledge, or the fitness to drive as their bodies age.  By mandating that older drivers renew their licenses in-person, the DMV can test drivers and can evaluate them in a face-to-face format.

Effective immediately, all drivers 70 and older whose driving privilege is expiring between March 1 and May 31, 2020; will be granted a 120-day extension in the renewal process.  Mature drivers who fall within this category will begin receiving paper extensions in the mail by the middle of April.   The extension will allow them to continue driving for 120 days before they are required to renew their license. State records indicate that more than 850,000 seniors renew their licenses in-person each year.

Waiving in-person renewals for Eligible Drivers and Identification Card Holders:

On March 30, 2002, Governor Gavin Newsome signed an Executive Order offering relief to those Californians who must renew their driver license or identification cards during the national emergency.  The Governor’s order allows California drivers with a good driving record, a 60-day extension for in-person renewals.

The DMV has nearly completed the computer programing necessary to allow most safe drivers and ID card holders to renew their documents on-line or through the mail.  It is hoped this new system will be up and running by the middle of April.

Ordering a duplicate Driver License:

Each year, approximately 1 million Californians request duplicate copies of their driver license because it has been lost or stolen.  Effective immediately, the California DMV now allows drivers to order  a duplicate driver license on-line.  If their license is not scheduled to expire within 30 days, all drivers are eligible for this service.  The cost of ordering a duplicate license is $30.

Essential Services:

The DMV continues to provide essential services through mail, on-line services and kiosks.  The DMV call center is available at (800) 777-0133.  Drivers can access DMV on-line services at www.dmvonlineservices and www.dmvanytime.  These sites can assist drivers with change of address, replacement sticker or registration cards, notice of transfer, release of liability, vehicle license fee refunds and others.

Beginning April 2, 2020, the DMV will launch its “Virtual Field Office” at drivers will be permitted to process title transfers and complex vehicle registrations that would normally require a face-to-face visit to a field office.   The DMV will be announcing additional services through the Virtual Field Office in the weeks to come.

Other News:

  • Field Office Closures: DMV Field Offices throughout the state are currently closed while the department conducts deep cleaning.  Once the offices have been sanitized, in-person services will resume in certain regional offices.  In the meantime, the DMV is expanding virtual  services and is developing new protocols to assist drivers in conducting business.
  • Law Enforcement: The DMV has requested that Law Enforcement Officers consider exercising discretion before issuing citations for expired licenses or expired vehicle registration.
  • Behind the Wheel Testing: All “behind the wheel” driving tests have been suspended.  Driving tests require that the testing driver and a DMV examiner be in close contact within an automobile.  This does not comport with the current requirement for Social Distancing and therefore, these services will not resume until it is safe to do so.
  • Written Testing: Currently, any driver taking a written test is required to appear in-person at a DMV Field Office.  All written testing has been suspended while the DMV works to create an on-line format.
  • Office hours: When the DMV Field Offices reopen, the department will suspend extended office hours and Saturday service.
  • Driver Safety Office: The DMV’s Department of Driver Safety is basically the DMV’s version of a courthouse. This is where driver license suspension hearings are conducted.  During the crisis, the Driver Safety Office is open for business in a modified manner.  While suspension hearings continue, they are primarily being conducted in a telephone format to promote Social Distancing.

California Drivers Advocates is a team of Administrative Advocates, Investigators and Scientists who are devoted to protecting the driving privilege of all Californians.  During the Corona-Virus emergency, we remain open for business.  While we are not meeting with Clients in our offices, we have established the infrastructure to defend drivers in a telephonic format.  If the DMV is working to suspend or revoke your driving privilege, give us a call.  We’re available to fight for you.

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