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In the United States of Americamarker, a Department of Motor Vehicles (or DMV) is a state-level government agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing. Similar departments exist in Canadamarker. The name "DMV" is not used in every state or province, nor are the traditional DMV functions handled by a single agency in every state, but the generic term is universally understood, particularly in the context of driver's license issuance and renewal.

Terminology and organization

Driver licensing and vehicle registration in the United States is handled by the state government in all states but Hawaiimarker, where counties perform DMV functions. In Canada, driver licensing and vehicle registration is handled at the provincial government level.

Names

United States

The Uniform Vehicle Code prefers the name "Department of Motor Vehicles". The acronym "DMV" is most commonly used to describe the agency (where it exists); however, diverse titles are used in different jurisdictions.

State Agency Name(s) Notes
Alabamamarker Alabama Motor Vehicle Division
Alaskamarker Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles
Arizonamarker Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division Division of the Arizona Department of Transportation
Arkansasmarker Arkansas Office of Motor Vehicles
Californiamarker California Department of Motor Vehicles
Coloradomarker Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
Connecticutmarker Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles
Delawaremarker Delaware Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles
Floridamarker Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Georgiamarker Georgia Department of Driver Services (Driver Licenses)Georgia Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division (Vehicle Registration) Formerly Georgia Department of Motor Vehicle Safety (DMVS)
Idahomarker Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles
Illinoismarker Secretary of State of Illinois, Vehicle Services Department and Driver Services Department
Indianamarker Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Iowamarker Iowa Department of Transportation
Kansasmarker Kansas Division of Motor Vehicles
Kentuckymarker Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Division of Driver Licensing (driver's licenses), Motor Vehicle Licensing System (vehicle registration and tags). The state's Kentucky county clerks are responsible for the administration and issuance of motor vehicle driver's license, vehicle registrations, and titles.
Louisianamarker Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles
Mainemarker Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Marylandmarker Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
Massachusettsmarker Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Under The Administration of the Executive Office of Transportation, transfers to the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation on Nov 1, 2009.
Michiganmarker Michigan Secretary of State
Minnesotamarker Minnesota Department of Public Safety - Division of Driver and Vehicle Services
Missourimarker Missouri Department of Revenue
Montanamarker Montana Department of Justice Driver Services
Nebraskamarker Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles
Nevadamarker Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles formerly the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety
New Hampshiremarker New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles
New Jerseymarker New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission New Jersey has differing titles for the high office holders in this part of government: The head of the New Jersey Department of Transportation is referred to as the "Commissioner," while the head of the MVC/MVS is referred to as the "Chief Administrator." Also Formerly Known As New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles
New Mexicomarker New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division
New Yorkmarker New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
North Carolinamarker North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Division of the North Carolina Department of Transportation
North Dakotamarker North Dakota Motor Vehicle Division (vehicle registrations), North Dakota Drivers License and Traffic Safety Division (driver licensing)
Ohiomarker Ohio Department of Public Safety Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Oklahomamarker Department of Public Safety (driver licensing), Oklahoma Tax Commission (vehicle registrations)
Oregonmarker Oregon Department of Transportation Driver and Motor Vehicles Services Division (DMV)
Pennsylvaniamarker Pennsylvania Department of Transportationmarker
Rhode Islandmarker Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles
South Carolinamarker South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles
Tennesseemarker Tennessee Department of Revenue, Taxpayer and Vehicle Services Division
Texasmarker Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (vehicle title and registration) and Texas Department of Public Safety, Driver License Division (driver licensing) Vehicle title and registration were formerly provided by the Texas Department of Transportation. On November 2, 2009, these services were transferred to a new Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV).
Utahmarker Utah Division of Motor Vehicles Utah has a separate department that handles drivers' licenses and identification cards
Vermontmarker Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles Subunit of the state Agency of Transportation
Virginiamarker Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
Washingtonmarker Washington Department of Licensing Also handles Boat, Business, and Professional licenses
Wisconsinmarker Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles
District of Columbiamarker District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles
American Samoamarker American Samoa Department of Public Safety
Guammarker Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation Motor Vehicle Division
Northern Mariana Islandsmarker Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Safety Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Driver Services Directorate
United States Virgin Islandsmarker United States Virgin Islands Police Department Motor Vehicle Bureau


Canada

Province Agency Name(s) Notes
Albertamarker Service Alberta
British Columbiamarker Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
Manitobamarker Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation
New Brunswickmarker New Brunswick Department of Public Safety Motor Vehicle Branch
Newfoundlandmarker Newfoundland Motor Registration Division
Nova Scotiamarker Nova Scotia Registry of Motor Vehicles
Ontariomarker Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Québecmarker Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec Also performs seizures and inspections of maritime vehicles throughout the province on waterways such as the Gulf of St. Lawrencemarker and the Ottawa River.
Prince Edward Islandmarker Prince Edward Island Department of Transportation and Public Works Highway Safety Division
Saskatchewanmarker Saskatchewan Government Insurance
Northwest Territoriesmarker Northwest Territories Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division
Nunavutmarker Government of Nunavut Division of Motor Vehicles
Yukon Territorymarker Yukon Territory Community & Transportation Services Motor Vehicle Department


Organization within the government

Furthermore, there is much diversity in how the Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) is situated within the structure of a state's government.

Hawaiimarker is the only U.S. state where no part of the state government performs DMV functions; it has completely delegated vehicle registration and driver licensing to county governments.

In Kentuckymarker and Tennesseemarker, the Transportation Cabinet, and the Department of Revenue, Taxpayer Vehicle Services Division, respectively, set the policies and designs for licenses and vehicle registration; but the actual registration and licensing are handled by offices of the county governments.

In the District of Columbiamarker, which is not part of any state, the DMV (formerly the Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services) is part of the city government.

In a few states, there may be a separate department which administers vehicle inspections (which are mandatory in a number of U.S. states with adverse weather conditions which make vehicle maintenance a high priority). In Virginiamarker, the Department of Motor Vehicles handles both driver licensing and vehicle registration, while the Virginia State Police and the Department of Environmental Quality administer safety inspection and emission inspection, respectively. Note that the program is simply administered by the state; actual inspections are performed by specific authorized employees of privately owned gas stations and garages licensed by the state.

In some states, the DMV is not a separate cabinet-level department, but instead is a division or bureau within a larger department. Examples of departments which perform DMV functions include the Department of Justice (Montanamarker), the Department of Public Safety (Texasmarker, Ohiomarker), the Department of [Taxation and] Revenue (Missourimarker, Arkansasmarker, Tennesseemarker, and New Mexicomarker), and the Department of Transportation (Pennsylvaniamarker, New Jerseymarker, and Wisconsinmarker). In New Hampshiremarker, the Division of Motor Vehicles is a division of the Department of Safety. In Vermontmarker, the Department of Motor Vehicles is a subunit of the state Agency of Transportation.

Some states do not separate DMV functions into distinct organizational entities at all, but simply bundle them into a laundry list of responsibilities assigned to an existing government agency. For example, in the state of Washingtonmarker, the Department of Licensing is responsible for driver's licenses, and vehicle and boat registrations in addition to most other business and occupational licensing. In Michiganmarker and Illinoismarker, the Secretary of State's offices perform responsibilities which would be handled by the DMV in other states.

Jurisdiction and exceptions

Almost all long-term residents ("long term" in this case means over 30 days) of a state who wish to operate motor vehicles must possess a driver's license issued by their state DMV, and their vehicles must show license plates (and current registration tags or stickers) issued by that agency.

Armed Forces active duty servicemembers are an exception to this general rule; by Federal law, servicemembers do not change legal residence when relocating to a new duty station unless they take voluntary action to do so. These individuals have the option of retaining the license and vehicle registration of their legal residence or obtaining a new license and registration locally. Some states also let out-of-state college students maintain their existing license and/or registration.

Vehicles owned by the federal government register with the General Services Administration, rather than a state. Drivers of these vehicles must still be licensed with their home state, however.

The Office of Foreign Missions at the U.S.marker Department of Statemarker has a Diplomatic Motor Vehicles program which issues driver's licenses to foreign diplomats and their dependents, registers their vehicles, and issues special diplomatic license plates.

In some states, besides conducting the written and hands-on driving tests that are a prerequisite to earning a driver's license, DMVs also regulate private driving schools and their instructors.

DMVs with the responsibility of registering automobiles also track detailed vehicle information such as odometer history in order to prevent automobile-related crimes such as odometer fraud.

Driver's licenses and identification

In countries with no national identification card (like the United States), driver's licenses have often become the de facto identification card for many purposes, and DMVs have effectively become the agency responsible for verifying identity in their respective states. See Identity documents in the United States.

Equivalent agencies in other countries



*Queenslandmarker - Queensland Transport
*New South Walesmarker - Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA)
*ACTmarker - Road Transport Authority
*Victoriamarker - Vicroads
*Tasmaniamarker - Department of Infrastructure, Energy & Resources
*South Australiamarker - Transport SA
*Northern Territorymarker - Motor Vehicle Registry
*Western Australiamarker - Department for Planning and Infrastructure


*Northern Irelandmarker - Driver & Vehicle Agency


References

  1. National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances, Uniform Vehicle Code and Model Traffic Ordinance § 2-301(a) (Charlottesville: Michie Company, 1968), 15. Section 2-301(a) is as follows: "A department of the government of this State to be known as the 'department of motor vehicles' is hereby created."
  2. http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  3. http://www.dds.ga.gov/ Georgia Department of Driver Services
  4. http://motor.etax.dor.ga.gov/motor/tag_and_title.aspx Georgia Department of Revenue, Motor Vehicle Division
  5. http://www.ohiobmv.com/ Department of Public Safety - Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  6. Oregon DOT DMV
  7. http://state.tn.us/revenue/ Department of Revenue, Taxpayer and Vehicle Services Division
  8. Washington State list of licenses
  9. 운전면허시험관리단
  10. Land Transport New Zealand


External links




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