Two OnLine Services at the DMV Will Save Time Money Change of Address and Release of Liability

California Department of Motor Vehicles
Media Relations Office
2415 First Avenue, MS F-122, Sacramento, CA 95818
Contact: Mike Marando, Steve Haskins, Armando Botello, Mike Miller
September 7, 2006

Sacramento—The Department of Motor Vehicles announced today that customers can now report a change of address and file a Notice of Release of Liability through the DMV Web site at The two new additional services are part of the Department’s drive toward using innovations in Web-based technologies to enhance customer service.

“Similar to other services we now offer online, these two have the potential of saving time and money for our customers by eliminating unnecessary trips to our field offices or phone calls into our system,” said DMV Director George Valverde. “At the same time, those customers whose business must be conducted in person will also benefit because they will find less crowded offices and shorter wait times.”

What is a Release of Liability?

By law, anyone who sells a motor vehicle has the obligation to notify DMV by filling out a Notice of Release of Liability within five days after the sale. The notice releases the previous owner from any civil and/or criminal liability for the parking, abandonment or operation of the sold vehicle by another party.

California law also mandates that all licensed drivers, holders of state issued I.D. cards and anyone who has a vehicle registered in his/her name must report any change of address to DMV within 10 days.

Currently DMV receives more than 6.4 million Notices of Release of Liability and 1.7 million change of address forms each year. All of them are currently processed manually. Unfortunately, a high percentage of the forms received by mail are either illegible or incomplete, causing customers to make additional phone calls and/or field office visits to correctly update their information. Incomplete or illegible change of address forms can also inconvenience customers by not allowing them to use mail or Internet options to process their vehicle renewals because they are unable to receive the renewal notices by mail.

Director Valverde said that the new Internet options will greatly expedite the process and reduce the number of incomplete forms because the system will not finalize a form that has not been filled out in its entirety. In the case of the Release of Liability forms, the Internet system will also allow the customer to make a copy of the completed Notice of Release of Liability to keep for his/her records.

The new features join a growing list of services offered 24 hours a day, seven days where customers can do the following online:

  • Schedule office appointments for up to three transactions or three separate customers
  • Make appointments for both car and motorcycle driving skill tests
  • Renew driver’s licenses, ID cards , vehicle or vessel registrations
  • Reserve, purchase or renew personalized plate designations
  • Check the license status of driver’s education or traffic schools, new and used vehicle dealers and more
  • Calculate fees and taxes due
  • Request refunds
  • Take interactive driver’s license exams
  • Find the nearest DMV offices, hours of operation and wait times
  • Study the Driver’s Handbook, the Motorcycle Handbook, the Parent-Teen Training Guide and more
  • Answer the most frequently asked questions in extensive archives


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