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California Department of Motor Vehicles

Every state has a special department that issues driver's licenses, makes sure drivers are qualified, and performs various other duties that help regulate the potentially dangerous activity of driving. In California, these functions and many others are handled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, or the DMV for short. This page tells the story of how the California DMV began and how the organization has evolved over time.


California DMV History

As hard as it is to picture life in California without dealing with the DMV, the department didn't always exist. Prior to the invention of the automobile, there was no need for the California DMV. After all, there was no license required to drive a horse-drawn carriage. Read more...

California DMV Office Locations

Find a DMV Office in your area. Read more... 

California DMV Services

Today, the DMV offers many services. They are responsible for registering California vehicles, collecting taxes on them, and making sure that vehicles driven in California meet California pollution control standards. They are also responsible for managing California drivers, making sure that all licensed drivers are not only physically and mentally capable of driving, but also that they have enough knowledge to be able to drive safely. The California DMV accomplishes this task by testing new drivers, issuing licenses, and revoking them when it becomes obvious that a driver is abusing his or her driving privileges. Read more...

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