DMV TestBuddy Frequently Asked Questions

Join Us on the DMV Modernization Journey

Volunteer to team up with us to study how technology can help improve the driver’s license process.

If you have a driver’s license permit or plan to take a drive test soon, we need your help with this important study. This study is necessary so the DMV can continue to improve the way California drivers get a license.

How It Works

Volunteers provide the DMV with valuable driving information through a simple smartphone application (app). The data collected is to provide objective insights on driver behavior while on specific roads and during various driving conditions. This data will not be used to evaluate you individually as a driver or impact your attempt to get a driver’s license. The data collected will be used for research purposes only, will be considered with other drivers’ data collected, and is not intended to be shared. If you join our study and later decide you no longer want to participate, you can easily opt out and remove your information from the study.

To Volunteer and Set Up is Easy

Who can volunteer:

  • Permit holders and recently licensed drivers
  • All non-commercial drivers

How to get involved:

  • Download via smartphone:
    Apple | Android
  • Drive as usual with the DMV TestBuddy app
  • Data is confidential and only viewed by DMV researchers
  • Opt out anytime

Please join us in improving the DMV customer experience!


A mobile app that can be downloaded to a smartphone,

The app is a distraction-free method of collecting driving data only for the study you are participating in. The app will collect location and driving activity such as speed/acceleration, braking/stopping, and turning/swerving.

The DMV TestBuddy app builds on proprietary technology that is calibrated in cooperation with the DMV to monitor accurately the underlying data without misrepresenting your driving. DMV TestBuddy is a safe place for data to be collected and made available to the study without the worry of the data being shared with other entities outside DMV.

No. The DMV TestBuddy app allows you to participate in the study in a single, secure place.

There is no cost to you as a participant.

Participants opt in by accepting the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Agreement. After participants download the app, the app runs on its own and collects driving activities while operating the vehicle to measure driving characteristic for this study.

Yes, participation can be canceled at any time and the participant can request to have their data removed from the app and study. Participation results will have no impact on your drive test or obtaining a driver license.


The participant provides first and last name, permit or driver license number, and their email address. All personal information collected is to be used for purposes of the study and is subject to the limitations in the Information Practices Act and state policy. Driving activity captured will include location, speed/acceleration, braking/stopping, and turning/swerving.

No, audio and video are not collected. The app does not request audio or video permissions from the participant.

DMV will conduct a comparison study to assist with exploring alternative options to scheduling and successfully passing a driving test with the DMV for a noncommercial instruction permit holder and the safety impact of allowing the driving test requirement to be fulfilled through alternative methods.

DMV has worked with the app developer to specify what data is necessary to collect, which will be accessible by individuals authorized by DMV only. Data will not be shared with insurance companies, law enforcement, or participants’ parent/legal guardian. DMV’s Information Security and Disclosure Statement

DMV has partnered with the app developer to follow standards and best practices for secure data collection.

DMV is following the same guidelines and regulations that protect other personal data collected by DMV.

All data will be destroyed according to DMV data retention policies based on the data type.

Yes, to your name only, no other phone data is linked. The information collected through the app during the study will be used by DMV researchers and not be considered to determine your qualification for a driver’s license.

No, participation is voluntary. The app will collect data related to driving behavior to be used in the DMV study and plays no role in obtaining a driver license.

While participating is voluntary, the DMV TestBuddy app is required to participate. Those without a smartphone will not be able to participate.

Participation in the study is voluntary. The DMV TestBuddy app is required to participate, those without a smartphone will not be able to participate.

No. The app will collect data related to driving behavior of those who choose to participate, for study purposes only and plays no role in obtaining a driver license.

No. Data collected will be used by DMV for the purposes of the comparison study only.

There is no consequence if the participant’s data reflects poor driving behavior. DMV may explore additional features to provide feedback on driver behavior through the app.

Data collected will be compared to other participants’ driving in the same area or road type/condition.

Only driving activity that can be collected by the app will be used for the comparison study and the type of data collected will be the same for all participants.

No. The data is collected for the comparison study and will not play a role in determining eligibility to be licensed.