California Department of Motor Vehicles
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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the state agency that registers motor vehicles and boats and issues driver's licenses in the U.S. state of California. It regulates new car dealers (through the New Motor Vehicle Board), commercial cargo carriers, private driving schools, and private traffic schools. The DMV works with the Superior Courts of California to promptly record convictions against drivers' licenses and subsequently suspends or revokes licenses when a driver accumulates too many convictions (as measured by a point-based system). The DMV also issues identification cards to people who are ineligible for, or do not wish to have, a driver's license.
The DMV is part of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. It is headquartered in Sacramento and operates local offices in nearly every part of the state. As of December 2007, the DMV employed just over 9,000 people—37% at headquarters and 57% at 168 field offices. Also as of 2007, it maintained records for 28,587,837 people and 33,539,486 vehicles. As of 2010, California has 23,753,441 licensed drivers.
In 1901, the California State Legislature authorized California cities and counties to issue licenses for operation of many types of wheeled vehicles within their boundaries, including bicycles and automobiles. From 1905 to 1913, the California Secretary of State was authorized to implement a uniform statewide registration and licensing system for motor vehicles. In 1913, the Department of Engineering (predecessor of Caltrans) became responsible for registrations, and the California State Treasurer became the custodian of vehicle records. Licenses for drivers of motor vehicles became mandatory in California on December 13, 1913.
The first Department of Motor Vehicles was established by the Vehicle Act of 1915, but was reduced to the Division of Motor Vehicles within the Department of Finance in 1921. Under the Vehicle Act of 1923, the Division was authorized to appoint inspectors and traffic officers to enforce the Act; these personnel were later spun off in 1947 into the Department of the California Highway Patrol. In 1929, the Division was transferred to the Department of Public Works (a descendant of the old Department of Engineering and an ancestor of Caltrans) and in 1931 DMV again became a full Department. The DMV began collecting a statewide Vehicle License Fee in 1936, replacing the personal property tax that individual cities and counties previously levied directly on motor vehicles regularly garaged within their borders.
Some DMV locations have been purported to have widely differing pass rates on the driver's license test. According to the Orange County Register, in 2009, the highest pass rate was 75% and the lowest 60%.
See also 
- "Statistics for Publication", California Department of Motor Vehicles, Forecasting Unit, March 2008.
- "Licensed Drivers by Sex and Ratio to Population - 2010" Federal Highway Administration, December 2011.
- Statistik on pass rate