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DMV Milestones Major Events Affecting Drivers, Vehicles and the DMV

When The Department of Motor Vehicles was conceptualized for a number of states in the United States of America, the idea behind it was to provide the public with the highest order or highway safety through the application of innovative services. In conjunction with that, they also had the responsibility to collect revenue and use the money in transport related matters. Another additional function was to maintain all sorts of motor vehicle related records. And it has continued to perform the same functions with additional ones over several decades. In this article we focus on the major DMV milestones that happened in California, to understand how DMV was shaped to what it is now, a highly efficient, functional and professional organization dedicated to serve the people of the US in matters of motor vehicle safety.

It was in the second decade of the previous century when the first of many DMV milestones occurred.

1913 – Introduction of the concept of license or a document authorizing a person to drive.

1915 – Department of Motor Vehicles was created.

1923 – The Vehicle Act of 1915 was replaced by the California Vehicle Act. This law gave the Division of Motor Vehicles authority to appoint state inspectors and traffic officers.

1929 – Division of Motor Vehicles was transferred to the Department of Public Works. This system continued for two years more until DMV was again declared an independent state department.

1936 – Vehicle License Fee was introduced by the DMV and became a further source of revenue.

1945 – The Motor Vehicle Support Fund of 1937 was abolished to be replaced by The Motor Vehicle Fund. The DMV revenues were deposited to this fund. This was followed by rapid growth in responsibilities in the subsequent years. The power to enforce laws also multiplied. These changes continued through to the next decade.

1947 – The passing of legislation allowed the DMV to increase fees from $3 to $6. This was done mainly to meet post World War II reconstructions. In the following years the Investigations Section in its Registration division is created to enforce laws within DMV jurisdiction. The fees were also increased a number of times and a new set of enforcement laws also came into being.

In the 1960’s the DMV went hi-tech. The DMV became increasingly dependent on technology in the way it rendered its services to the people.

1964 – Magnetic tapes took the place of punch cards for processing registration documents.

1965 – Smog control devices were made mandatory for every vehicle.

1967 – The New Motor Vehicle Board was created.

1968 – The random access computer was introduced to help document basic registration. Within two years driver license records were fully computerized.

With the introduction of the 90s the DMV appropriated most of the technological advancements. This helped to automate a major part of the troublesome functions. The efficiency also increased and the services available were quicker and better. Today, in the age of the high-speed internet all the DMVs across the 50 states are connected through the web and any information or help a customer might need can be accessed through the websites of any of these 50 states. Even downloading forms and renewing driver’s licenses can be now done through the internet.

Many DMV milestones have occurred since the second decade of the previous century. From the days of punch cards to electronic renewal of licenses, DMVs in California and the rest of the states have come a long way. Incorporating the best practices of e-governance are now models to follow when it comes to efficiency and customer service.

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