DMV Reduces Wait Times in Offices by More Than 30 Minutes in The Last 3 Years Increased Use of Web Site New Technology in Field Help More Customers in Less Time

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

April 6 , 2007

Sacramento -The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today announced that it had cut its average wait time from approximately 49 minutes in the first quarter of 2004 to 16 in the months of January, February and March 2007.

“One of DMV’s highest goals is to provide customers with fast, convenient and reliable services, and to the extent possible, Californians should take advantage of our online services where there is never a wait,” said DMV Director George Valverde.  “If you do not have access to the Internet or have a complex issue that requires a visit to a DMV field office, I would suggest making an appointment over the telephone at (800.777.0133). Doing so will ensure you have the best and fastest possible service.

“While we have not conquered all of our service concerns such as the longer waits at some of our urban offices, we have made significant improvements in how quickly we are serving our customers, and we will continue to improve our service efforts."

Ways customers can reduce their wait times include:

  • Going Online: Many routine DMV activities such as vehicle registration, change of address and driver license renewals for good drivers can now be done online at
  • Make an Appointment(s) : If a visit to a field office is required, making an appointment will ensure the fastest possible service. Often, those with appointments have only a brief wait prior to getting served.
  • Be Prepared: Bringing in all necessary documents can minimize wait times.  “If customers do their part and make sure they’ve got the right paperwork, we’ll do our part in making their DMV experience a seamless one,” said Director Valverde.

In 2004, the average wait time for any person walking into a DMV office statewide – both those who had appointments and customers who did not – was 31 minutes. In 2005, the average wait time was down to 20 minutes and is currently about 16 minutes. “We attribute the reduced wait times to the fact that many of our customers are doing business online instead of going into a field office,” said Director Valverde.

Under the Governor’s leadership, the DMV added an additional 400 employees in 2004 to speed service in the DMV field offices. Additionally, enhanced technology and other improvements have allowed DMV personnel to be more efficiently deployed to enhance customer service and reduce wait times.

In 2006, online Vehicle Registration Renewals numbered 3.88 million, a 34 percent increase over 2005. During the first quarter of 2007, Californians conducted 1.1 million Vehicle Registration renewals online, an 18 percent increase over the 896,058 online renewals logged during the first quarter of 2006.

The department has unveiled new online services every 120 days, and earlier this year launched “Save Time, Go Online,” its first-ever marketing campaign designed to drive more customers to do business with the DMV over the Internet. Part of the campaign included a newly-redesigned Web site with the customer in mind.

The DMV will continue to improve its online services. The next project set to be unveiled is the Online Fee Calculator and allow customers to compute fees due for vehicle registration renewals and used vehicle purchases.  For more information on all of DMV’s online services, visit

The wait time statistic is calculated by adding up the total number of minutes customers statewide waited and divided by the number of customers. Additionally, this information is from the DMV’s queue system. Currently, the system is installed in 135 of the 169 DMV field offices. The systems are installed as the DMV offices are renovated and the information is included in the wait time statistic as they become available. Wait times can vary based on demand. Because drive tests use a separate system, the wait times for drive tests are not included.

Don’t Stand In Line, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Web site (, including online appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address, filings for Notice of Release of Liability, and payment of fees via secure debit transactions.

DMV is a department under the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, which is under the direction of Secretary Dale E. Bonner. The DMV licenses drivers; maintains driving records; registers and tracks official ownership of vehicles and vessels; investigates auto and identity-related fraud; and licenses car dealers, driving schools, and traffic violator schools.


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