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California DMV Celebrates 100 Years of Dedication to Public Service Sacramento


Contact:  Office of Public Affairs
2415 First Avenue 
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 657–6437 |

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February 25, 2015

California DMV Celebrates 100 Years of Dedication to Public Service

Sacramento – The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is celebrating its 100 year anniversary and is proud of its century-long commitment of providing quality, innovative services to its ever-growing diverse community of customers. 

When the DMV was created in 1915, two full-time employees were hired to staff its first office, which was located inside the California Secretary of State’s office. During that year, vehicle registrations had climbed to 191,000, the average car sold for $500, and a gallon of gasoline cost eight cents. 

Today, the DMV has its own headquarters building, along with 174 field offices staffed with approximately 10,000 dedicated employees who serve more than 24 million licensed drivers and processes nearly 33 million vehicle registrations, among many other services.  

“The DMV has always changed with the times,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “We will build on our successful past and continue to offer more efficient and convenient ways to provide services to our customers in a manner in which they want them delivered.”


1966 - Employees at Bakersfield DMV office

Here are some DMV milestones:

    1915 - Vehicle Act of 1915 establishes the DMV
    1923 – Highway Patrol is part of the DMV
        CHP becomes its own department in 1929
    1958 - Photographs first appear on driver licenses
    1965 - Smog control devices required for registration
    1970 - Driver license records are fully computerized
    1979 - Renew driver licenses by mail
    1984 - Appointments offered for registration
    1990 - Magnetic strips attached to driver licenses and ID cards 
    1996 - DMV launches its informative website
    2000 - First online service offered to the public (Online Registration)
    2015 - DMV offers 20 convenient online services

Learn more about DMV’s interesting historical past by visiting






1938 - Berkeley Field Office

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