The California Department of Motor Vehicles on Wednesday announced it was implementing a number of measures aimed at safeguarding the general public and employees amid the coronavirus crisis.
The safety steps include canceling driving tests, reducing some of its operating hours, mandating appointments for in-office visits, and launching a virtual office, according to a DMV news release.
Driving tests canceled, hour extended
Starting Thursday, no behind-the-wheel drive tests will take place for at least the next 30 days. Anyone with such an appointment will be notified by the DMV.
Extended hours, including Saturday field office service, will also be suspended immediately.
DMV offices will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Changes to DMV visits
However, to visit a field office you will be required to make an appointment first — a measure aimed at encouraging social distancing.
Those who don’t have an appointment and show up will be scheduled to for a return visit, provided their transaction requires an office visit.
“This action will significantly reduce the number of people in our offices at any given time,” DMV officials explained in a news release. Our appointments system will allow us to better manage the flow of people coming to our offices and accommodate social distancing recommendations. “
Some services must be done in-person at the DMV. This includes certain driver’s license transactions, such as motorists 70 years and older, those who need to renew their license and haven’t been to the DMV in 15 years, drivers who need vision testing and anyone with a “complex driving history,” the release stated.
Additionally, anyone applying for a a new license or a federally compliant Real ID is also required to visit an office.
In other measures to promote social distancing, the DMV will reduce seating capacity at its field offices and offer a texting service; once visitors check in for their appointment, they can leave the office and will be alerted via text message about their place in line.
Other services — like most vehicle registration renewals — can be done online, at DMV kiosks, or by mail or phone.
New virtual office
To compliment the online services already offered by the agency, the DMV will be launching a virtual field office on Monday.
This will allow people to upload documents and provide e-signatures for a range of popular services. It can be used for vehicle title transfers, commercial driver’s license renewals, name or gender changes, and license reinstatements or changing endorsements, according to the release.
The DMV has also asked California law enforcement personnel to “exercise discretion” when they review licenses and vehicle registrations that are set to expire in the next two months.
“DMV took this action so that seniors and those with underlying health conditions can avoid required visits to field offices for driver license or vehicle registration renewals,” the release stated.
For a full list of online services offered by the DMV, visit DMV.ca.gov.