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Is Your Car Winter Ready?

snowglobeI’m sure in preparation for the colder climate you’ve taken out your winter coats and thermals, but is your car ready to brave the cold?

​Did you know your car’s battery power and tire pressures drop as the temperature does? Have your battery inspected by auto stores (they’re usually free) and carry a pair of jumper cables with you, in case of emergency. Remember to inspect and inflate all tires (including your spare) once a month and before any road trips. Any tires that are looking bald need changing ASAP!

Making a trip up to the snow this winter? Stock your vehicle with a snow shovel, ice scraper, and flashlights. Keep a bag with blankets, phone chargers, water, and food, along with any other necessary items, in case you end up in the mountains longer than you initially planned on. Better to be safe than sorry, right?

Remember to always drive cautiously, keep your gas tank close to full, and bring along properly fitting snow tire chains.

And be sure to check out NHTSA for more winter driving tips!

Your Car and a Public Restroom Have Far Too Much in Common

Hey, you!

Pink plastic bucket containing cleaning products, including cloths, sponge, and disinfectant bottles

Car wash, yeah.

Have you embarked on any spring cleaning projects yet this year? We highly recommend you set aside that well-meaning mattress flip or that grout line reseal and move this one straight to the top of your to-do list, because … your car … it’s just gross.

When’s the last time you cleaned the inside of your car? Like really cleaned it? Even if you’re good about keeping trash and other items from accumulating inside your car, chances are you aren’t the best about germs.

We spend a lot of time in our cars, but don’t give them the attention they need when it comes to cleanup. We do our laundry, wash our dishes, wipe down our tables and counters at home, all while our car sits sullied in the driveway. Researchers at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom tested the insides of 15 vehicles, taking samples from “high-traffic” areas like the steering wheel, carpets, seats, gear shift, and parking brake.

The results weren’t pretty.

Yeast, mold, and a bevy of bacteria, among them staphylococcus, a common cause of food poisoning. Forget your cell phone—your steering wheel has nine times the germs you would find in a public restroom.

If you have kids, or pets, or you eat in your car (which is dangerous as much as dirty)—or you’re simply among the 100 percent who have to come into contact with their cars in order to drive them—it may be time to broaden your horizons on what “car wash” truly means.

Put a spring in your step with Daylight Saving prep

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Two o’clock in the morning becomes three o’clock this Sunday, March 12.

It’s almost here.

The most dreaded day of the year, for some. Daylight Saving returns this Sunday, the day when the country collectively loses that precious hour as we slumber in our beds.

We’re a busy people, so that’s a coveted hour, even more so when you put it in the context of sleep. More than 70 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, and only two-thirds are getting enough rest at night, valued at seven hours or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Take those Sleepy McSleepersons and put them behind the wheel (71 million of them, by the way), and that hour becomes even more crucial. Chances of a crash double with anything under those seven hours. The blame for up to 6,000 fatal crashes a year lies with exhausted drivers.

It goes without saying we need to be prioritizing rest. But how to conquer that extra hurdle that is Daylight Saving Time? We’ve put together a few tips to better prepare for that 60-minute deficit so, come Monday morning … bright-eyed, bushy tailed and all that.

1) Start early. Don’t save up all that deprivation for quite literally the last minute. Spend the weekend acclimating to the change. Set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual on Saturday, then again on Sunday (taking into account the change that happens at 2 a.m. that night). That way, when Monday rolls around, you’ll roll out of bed a little easier.

2) Get moving. Exercise can help your internal clock with the time adjustment, says WebMD. But don’t go too easy. A moderate to rigorous activity will achieve the best results.

3) Get some sun – if there is any. Take advantage of any parting of the clouds this weekend and spend some time outside. Just like exercise, the sun helps your adaptation to the change. A walk outside gets you the Vitamin D you need, and takes care of the exercise component, too!

4) Wake up at the same time every day. This one’s a toughy. It’s practically an American tradition to sleep in on weekends, but it sends you off-course for the rest of your week. You’re setting yourself up for failure – and dangerous driving – any time of the year.

5) Pull over if you’re tired. Last but certainly not least, if you’ve bungled the other four suggestions, please, don’t drive. There’s a myriad of options available these days to get you where you need to go – public transportation, a carpool, a  ride-sharing service, a friend or family member. Or you can simply opt to get some more rest before heading to your destination. It’s not worth the risk to you and your fellow drivers out on the road.

Sweet dreams, everyone!

Down but not out: Your options during a field office outage

Is your field office experiencing some technical difficulties? Don’t worry, our teams are hard at work trying to get back to business as soon as possible.

In the meantime, while things are down, you’ve still got some ways to get things done*:

  • Offices continue to provide drive tests, schedule return appointments, help with paperwork, and answer customer’s questions throughout the outage.
  • More than a dozen DMV services are available online, 24/7/365: www.dmv.ca.gov.
  • DMV Now Self-Service Terminals are still up and running at many field office locations. Bring your registration renewal notice or your current registration card and get your sticker printed instantly. Find a DMV Now near you.*
  • Our Call Center can assist with general DMV information at 800-777-0133.
  • DMV’s Interactive Voice Response System at 800-777-0133 is also available for registration renewals.*
  • If your registration is due during a system failure, no penalties will be assessed if the renewal is postmarked by the next work date.
  • If the department is unable to process your request due to a system outage, to avoid paying penalties on a vehicle registration or other transaction, complete a Statement of Facts (REG 256) or write a letter explaining why you were late and the penalty may be waived. Then mail the registration renewal form, payment, REG 256 or letter in an envelope and send to the following address:

DMV
P.O. Box 942869
Sacramento, CA 94269-0001

  • We answer your general business-related questions on social media via DMV’s Twitter and Facebook accounts during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

*Eligibility is required for these services.

Dare to DMV at the L.A. County Fair

Angelenos! Do you Dare to Fair? Us too! 🙂

 

If you’re headed to the L.A. County Fair, opening Labor Day weekend and going through September 25, plan for a pit stop at the DMV booth in Building 4.

Amid the Ferris wheels and funnel cakes, you’ll also have an opportunity to get to know DMV Now. DMV Now is a self-service terminal with a touchscreen that guides you through your vehicle registration process. You can pay for and receive your new license plate tags instantly! No lines, no mail, no fuss!

If it’s time for you to renew, simply bring your notice or current registration card with you to the fair. Then stop by our booth, check out DMV Now and get your new sticker—printed for you right there, right then!

Not time for new tags just yet? Not a problem! You can still take DMV Now for a test-drive to see what it has to offer and how easy it is to use.

As always, we’ll be right there to answer any questions you may have, whether it’s about DMV Now or any other DMV-related business.

Come see us and DMV Now at the L.A. County Fair in Building 4. We dare you!

DMV and Donate Life Celebrate a Decade of Partnership

DonateLifeCA

DMV employees across the state donned specially designed polo shirts this week to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of DMV’s partnership with Donate Life California.

When you pay a visit to your local DMV field office, you have the power to save lives.

Today marks 10 years of partnership with Donate Life California. Since 2006, we’ve worked together to offer DMV customers applying for a new or renewed driver license or ID the opportunity to become organ and tissue donors.

Some stats worth celebrating from our decade of teamwork:

  • An average of 20,000 new Californians register as donors every week
  • More than 13.2 million have registered as a result of DMV’s participation
  • 95% of all registrants to Donate Life are submitted through DMV

Checking “yes” on your driver license or ID application allows us to link you directly to the Donate Life Organ & Tissue Donor Registry—designated by that life-changing, life-saving pink dot on your license or ID card.

George Becker had that important designation. He signed up as a donor through DMV when he was 16, first getting his driver license. Six years later, a severe infection would take his life. But in turn, George gave three others.

Graduation outside-square

Organ recipient Alfonso Garcia at his college graduation ceremony.

When a rare genetic disorder wreaked havoc on 15-year-old Alfonso Garcia’s body, his liver began to shut down almost overnight. George’s gift changed all of that. His liver saved Alfonso’s life, and other organs would save two additional lives. In May of this year, Alfonso graduated from the University of San Francisco. He, his family and his donor family have all volunteered hundreds of hours for organ donation outreach. (Read more about Alfonso and George’s story here.)

We are more than proud to commemorate the anniversary of such a successful, and truly vital, collaboration.

Here’s to another decade of saving lives!

To register online today, visit donatelifecalifornia.org.

The Dad Is in the Details

With Father’s Day upon us, DMV wanted to take a closer look at who and what the special day is celebrating.

Sure, we all know it’s a day for dads. But what does that mean?

To find out, we gathered a handful of our employees who, outside of their daily duties, have taken on one of the biggest jobs of them all—fatherhood—and asked for their thoughts. It’s their day, after all!

 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Happy Father’s Day to our DMV dads and all the proud papas out there!

These Go to 11: DMV Wins Big at SiOC Awards

When it comes to government communications, the California DMV knows how to turn it up a notch.

Whether online or in print, we strive to provide interesting, informative and valuable information to our customers and employees alike.

We know the benefit of social media as a space to extend our customer service, encouraging customer feedback and two-way conversation.

We recognize the importance of recorded and live-streaming video to aid in explaining the sometimes complicated policies and processes surrounding vehicle licensing and ownership.

We understand the value of sharing our story — and our history — through pictures.

And last, but certainly not least, we get the need to keep evolving when it comes to communicating with California.

Last week, our efforts were recognized at the California State Information Officers Council SiOC awards, an annual event aimed at recognizing excellence in state government communications.

DMV took home (proudly, we might add!) 11 awards in total, earning 6 Gold and 5 Silver commendations across the various categories:

Writing
Opinon, Editorial or Guest Column – gold
Speech – gold
Script – gold

Audio-Visual Productions
Video: Training or Education – silver

Graphics
Technical Illustration or Drawing – silver
Brand Identity Project – silver
Photography – silver

Special Projects
Event – gold

Internet Communications
Social Media Outreach – silver
Webinar and Live Web Event – gold

Best Bang for Your Buck
Best Product Impact Under $1,500 – gold

Are you connected with us? If you haven’t already, check out the various ways to join the  online conversation.

 

 

DMV raises $$$ for babies during March of Dimes campaign

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It’s been a fun and fruitful couple of months at DMV!

Each year, department employees take part in the annual March of Dimes campaign, helping raise money for research to save and improve the lives of babies born prematurely by collecting donations and purchasing snacks and toys to benefit the nonprofit. The March-April fundraiser culminated in one final March for Babies walk at the state Capitol this past weekend.

The turnout was fabulous! More than 100 employees from DMV’s headquarters in Sacramento took time out of their weekends to brave the windy conditions alongside friends, family and other organizations to show their support.

From kickoff to the finish line, HQ employees alone raised almost $38,000 for this year’s campaign. And all of the numbers have yet to be crunched — field offices statewide held their own fundraisers and walks throughout the campaign that will bring DMV’s overall contribution even higher!

Great work, Team DMV!

DMV Recognized at 2016 Green California Summit

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DMV received recognition for its longtime support of the Green California Summit.

The DMV seal may be gold and blue, but these days, green is playing a big part in our business model.

Last week, DMV was recognized at this year’s Green California Summit and Exposition for our ongoing participation and long-standing support of California’s sustainability goals.

Thousands of representatives from the private and public sector gathered for the two-day event, held at the Sacramento Convention Center, to share information on innovative green and sustainable industry practices—and we pulled up right alongside.

“In the past decade, the DMV has been a proud outreach partner at the annual Green California Summit and Exposition,” said Cindy Dangberg, Summit Director of Green Technology. DMV Director Jean Shiomoto also serves as a member of the Green California Summit & Exposition Advisory Board.

Green Technology recognized DMV’s participation, spanning all 10 years of the summit’s history.

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DMV’s “Ten Years and Growing” display at the 2016 Green California Summit.

Lots of hard work went into setting up this year’s booth, highlighting the department’s achievements in sustainable energy and environmental design goals. This year’s theme was “Ten Years and Growing,” and included a video display that focused on DMV’s adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. In recent years, five DMV field offices have attained the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification Award.

“It’s been wonderful for the DMV to be able to feature its award-winning sustainable accomplishments,” said Calvin Jefferson, Sustainable Operations Coordinator. “We’ve been there since the beginning.”