Vehicle Industry Registration Procedures Manual

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Section 2 of 38

Chapter 1: General Registration Information

1.155 Vehicles Exempt from Registration

The following vehicles are exempt from regular registration, but may be required to display special identification (ID), as shown:

Aircraft Refueling Vehicles (VC §4021)
Vehicles designed or altered and used exclusively for the refueling of aircraft at a public airport, and operated upon a highway, under the control of a local authority, for a continuous distance not exceeding one-quarter mile each way to and from a bulk fuel storage facility.

Cemetery Equipment (VC §§4012 and 5011)
A vehicle, implement, or equipment specifically designed or altered for and used exclusively in the maintenance or operation of cemetery grounds, which is only incidentally operated or moved on a highway. Cemetery equipment must display a special ID plate if moved over a highway. See Chapter 16.

Disaster Relief Vehicles (VC §4005)
A vehicle operated within a disaster area or region, for the purpose of assisting in disaster relief work, under a special permit issued by DMV for that purpose.

The special permit is:

  • Issued only if the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), or the responsible local authority, has determined that the vehicle is necessary for such purpose.
  • Valid only during a period of a state of emergency, as proclaimed by the Governor under the provisions of the California Emergency Services Act.

Firefighting Equipment (VC §4015, CCR §157)
A privately-owned vehicle designed or capable of being used for firefighting purposes and only operated upon a highway in responding to, or returning from, emergency fire calls such as firefighting vehicles privately owned and operated by an all-volunteer, nonprofit fire department in an unincorporated area. Vehicles that do not qualify under CVC §4015 must be registered.

The following privately-owned vehicles, when operated upon a highway only in responding to, and returning from, emergency fire calls qualify as firefighting vehicles and are exempt from registration:

  • Fire trucks equipped with hose and ladders.
  • Fire engines.
  • Other vehicles permanently-equipped with firefighting apparatus and equipment.
  • A tank truck operated solely in conjunction with a fire truck, fire engine, or other self-propelled firefighting apparatus.

Privately-owned vehicles or a combination of vehicles, which are not designed primarily for firefighting do not qualify as firefighting vehicles as defined above, including:

  • Hazardous materials response vehicles.
  • Dedicated rescue vehicles.
  • Command post communications vehicles.
  • Passenger vehicles.
  • Buses.
  • Mobile kitchens.
  • Mobile sanitation facilities.
  • Heavy equipment transport vehicles.

An Authorized Emergency Vehicle permit issued by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) must be obtained, if Code 3 equipment (red light and siren) is installed on a privately-owned firefighting vehicle.

Forklift Trucks (VC §4013)
A forklift truck, which is designed primarily for loading, unloading, and stacking materials, is:

  • Operated upon the highway only for the purpose of transporting products or material across a highway in the loading, unloading, or stacking process.
  • Not operated along a highway for a distance greater than one-quarter mile.

See Chapter 13 for additional information.

Golf Carts (VC §§345, 4019, 21115)
A golf cart is a motor vehicle designed to carry golf equipment and not more than two persons, including the driver and:

  • With no less than three wheels in contact with the ground, an unladen weight of 1,299 pounds or less, and designed to operate at no more than 15 miles per hour.
  • A golf cart operated pursuant to CVC §21115 is exempt from registration.
  • Registration requirements for a golf cart that becomes subject to regular registration are the same as the original or nonresident requirements for other motor vehicles.

Hauled Vehicles (VC §4009)
A vehicle transported upon a highway with no part of which is in contact with the highway.

Refer to Chapter 15 for off-highway vehicle registration information.

Logging Vehicles (VC §§4018 and 5011)
A logging vehicle is exempt from registration, but must display a special identification plate if moved over a highway.

Refer to Chapter 16 for information.

Self-Propelled Wheelchairs, Invalid Tricycles, or Quadricycles (VC §467)
A self-propelled wheelchair, invalid tricycle, or quadricycle is a vehicle operated by a person who, by reason of physical disabilities, is otherwise unable to move about as a pedestrian.

Snowmobiles (VC §557)
A snowmobile is a motor vehicle designed to travel over ice or snow in whole or in part on skis, belts, cleats, or low pressure tires.

Refer to Chapter 15 for OHV registration information.

Special Equipment (VC §§565, 575, 4010, and 5011)
Special construction equipment and special mobile equipment are exempt from registration, but must display a special identification plate if moved over a highway.

Refer to Chapter 16 for information regarding special equipment.

Bicycle Program (VC §§39000-39012)
DMV procures and distributes bicycle license plates, stickers, and registration forms to cities and counties which have a bicycle licensing ordinance or resolution.

Fees for the plates, stickers, and registration forms are as follows:

  • Bicycle License Plates—$97 per hundred.
  • Bicycle Renewal Stickers—$15 per hundred (indicate expiration year).
  • Bicycle Registration forms—$12 per hundred.

Mail a written request on agency (city or county) letterhead with payment to the Special Processing Unit in DMV headquarters at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Special Processing Unit, MS D238
Attn: Bicycle Registration
PO Box 932345
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450

Miniature Motorcycles
DMV does not register vehicles known as mini choppers, pocket bikes, etc. These

  • Do not meet the definition of a motorized scooter because of their speed (CVC §406) and engine displacement (CVC §405).
  • Do not meet equipment safety standards.
  • Cannot be registered pursuant to CVC §4751d.

Advise your customers that these vehicles cannot be registered or operated on a public street.