Don’t Stand In Line, Go Online! California DMV

Nobody likes to stand in line at the DMV. Nobody! Just the thought of sitting in an overcrowded area having to listen to all those stories being told by other people gets me slightly anxious. Let us not forgot how rude the customers can be to the DMV employees! We, as taxpayers, love to sit back and complain about government services. We question their efficiency and disprove of their impersonal approach to service delivery. Take a step back and realize something. Despite all the negatives (which are often highlighted rather than the positives), the California DMV has made some major steps toward improving customer service, service delivery, and wait times.

Take for example the expansion of their online transactions and services. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (, including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777-0133. Did you know all these services are available online?

The DMV announced that their online business transactions numbered close to 2.6 million during January, February, and March. In comparison to last year, that represents an 20.4% increase. The most popular transaction continues to be vehicle registration, totaling just over 1.7 million for the 1st quarter and an increase of 18.4% over the same period for 2009. Customers who renew registrations online generally receive their tags within five business days. “We have seen a general, across-the-board increase in the use of our online services,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “Renewing a registration online is a win-win for our customers: it saves them time by going online and gets tags into their hands faster than conventional mail.” The second most popular transaction is online driver license renewals, rising 11.2% during the 1st quarter compared to a year ago. Customers renewed their licenses at a record pace during the month of March, logging 100,403 license renewals during that period.

So, before we go criticizing and chronically complaining about the DMV and how worthless they can be, they are making great strides to improve their service delivery and the options available to us. I hope that the DMV continues to expand their online capacity and continues to make the DMV experience increasingly pleasant. Go ahead and visit the California DMV’s website ( and see what they have to offer. If you are not in California, I urge you to visit your State’s DMV website or write your State officials to expand their online services.

Dave Lee

Dave has been with Modern Life Network since Day One! Dave co-hosts the flagship show of the network, Waves of Tech. He has previously hosted the shows Sports Unleashed and Flash Past. Being that his day job is working in the world of environmental management, his outlook on technology comes with a bit of a slant. Outside of the world of environmental management and podcasting, Dave plays roller derby in Bakersfield, CA.

  • Angie E

    before you go crazy about this did you know that their system is so corrupted that if you key in the wrong account number it doesn’t tell you?!!! then you get a letter with your registration fees doubled! how is it now?!!!

  • Don Hack

    There is a surprising lack of information on the DMV website, and at the Santa Rosa DMV as well. Want to change the registration of my truck from commercial to pleasure….. no information on the website. Made an appointment and stood in line for 30 minutes in the rain!! No information on the door indicating those with an appoint should go to the front of the line, or just stand in line. When appointment time came, I went to the front of the line and told I needed documents I didn’t have…. because there is no information on the website regarding what is needed for this transaction. Made another appointment….. first available is 30 days away! With just a little bit of attention, these kinds of frustrating experiences could be avoided.

Send this to a friend