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Caution: Changes Up Ahead

Several new laws took effect on July 1 of interest to California motorists.

Changes in DMV Laws and Procedures

Unmasking the truth: Repeat offenders will get noticed

If you think you're going to escape that second red light or speeding ticket you just received in the mail by going to Traffic Violator School (TVS), you better think again. As of July 1, motorists will only be able to attend TVS and "mask" a traffic conviction once every 18 months. Second convictions will show on your record and therefore will not be eligible for traffic school. Under the old law, when convictions were stamped "dismissed," it was equivalent to a verdict of "not guilty," so it appeared as though there were no violations. The new law prevents frequent offenders from being able to use this loophole as a way to repeatedly attend TVS.

No longer the exception: Push-to-talk phones

In 2008, all California drivers were banned from talking on a mobile phone without a hands-free device while driving. There was an exception for push-to-talk phones operated by drivers of commercials trucks, certain farm equipment or similar vehicles.   That exception expired on July 1 and drivers using push-to-talk phones will be subject to the same penalties as regular mobile phone users, which include a $20 fine for the first offense and a $50 fine for each subsequent offense.

Saving time: New DMV services

The DMV recognizes that your time is valuable, and is therefore committed to making your experience at the DMV better than ever. In recent months, the department has launched several new services designed to make your visit with the DMV as seamless as possible.

Telephone Appointment Notification system

Never miss your appointment! Expect a friendly reminder three days prior to your scheduled appointment. Our Telephone Appointment Notification system contacts you to confirm the date, time, location and reason for your appointment. If you miss the call, don't worry, an automated voice system will leave you a message.

Virtual Hold

The DMV will call you back! If you call the DMV and the wait time to speak to a representative is longer than five minutes, the DMV's new Virtual Hold gives you the option of receiving a call back from a customer service agent. You will simply be asked to leave a number where you can be reached; your call stays in the queue and a representative will call back generally within the dictated wait period. Now you can go about your busy day without sitting on hold.

Self Service Terminals

Get your vehicle registration tags and cards into your hands quicker! If you live near one of the 25 southern California DMV offices or the south Sacramento DMV office, you can walk out the door with your registration and tags in hand within minutes, without having to wait for a DMV representative to assist you. These 25 offices now feature Self Service Terminals (SST), designed to quickly process your registration transaction. All you have to do is, scan your registration renewal notice and pay with cash, check or credit card and wait for the machine to dispense your registration and tags. It's that simple!  

Droid & iPhone Applications

For the on-the-go person, mobile phone applications are a fast and convenient way to get information. DMV has its own mobile application, "DMV NOW," for Droids and iPhones, which allows users to access DMV information and services just as they could from their computer. "DMV NOW" lets you find local offices with actual wait times, get turn-by-turn directions based on the GPS location, take sample written driving tests, access a large library of driver education videos and receive important DMV Alerts.

As always, the DMV wants to make a transition into these new changes as easy and smooth as possible. For more details on all of the aforementioned information, please visit our website at Keep yourself updated with any future DMV changes or news subscribe California Department of Motor Vehicles RSS feed.