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The Leap Day Dilemma

Happy birthday, Leapers, from all of us at the California DMV!

Leap Day! A day that comes only once every four years. For most of us, it simply means an extra 24 hours in still the shortest month. But for the rare few born on February 29 (>200,000 in the U.S.), it means but a single birthday every 1,461 days. Beyond an excuse for friends to skip out on gift obligations, it can complicate things on official levels, too. What happens when a leap year baby applies for their ID or driver license?

Luckily, they don’t have to wait until they’re 64  in “normal” years to operate a motor vehicle. While leap year babies don’t technically have a birthday on the calendar every year, those 365 days when the earth revolves around the sun work well enough by legal standards to determine when they turn 16…ish.

There is no hard and fast rule in a non-leap year as to whether February 28 or March 1 qualifies as the correct time to +1 yourself. We say don’t sweat it when, say, grabbing that free bday meal at Denny’s—but we’d recommend playing it safe and sticking with the latter for those bigger, definitive milestones (age of majority or legal drinking age, for example).

And what about expiration dates, since a California license or ID always expires on the person’s birth date? We try to be as true to life as possible there, too.

“A person born on February 29 with a driver license or ID that expires in a leap year, we’ll use the same date, February 29,” says DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez. “If it expires in a regular year, we’ll use February 28 as the expiration date.”

Make a Date with Us at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival


February is here and fair season has begun!

The Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival takes place February 12-21. Now in its 70th year, the event based in Indio, Calif., is taking things to the next level, with top-notch entertainment, two carnival areas, and last but certainly not least, plenty of food vendors, cooking up ways to incorporate the fair’s fruit of honor into creative dishes—deep fried and bacon-wrapped dates, date shakes, date dogs and more.

And we’ll be there, too! Our outreach booth will get you access to the DMV website, driver handbooks and expert field representatives to answer your questions. Got a teen who’s about to become a driver? Don’t panic, we’ll guide you through it. Curious about autonomous vehicles? We’ll give you the latest. Want to stay plugged in through social media? Our staff will point the way. We’ll have our Instagram and driver license cutout frames at the ready for you and your fellow fairgoers to strike a pose and share the pics online. Add the #CADMV hashtag to make it legit.

It’s a date—stop by Fullenwiden Hall and say hello!

Top 3 Ways to Make Sure Your Team Wins This Sunday

Drinking and the Super Bowl go hand in hand for a lot of fans, but drinking, driving, and death have an unfortunately close relationship as well. Just short of 10,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That’s a scary statistic we don’t want you to become a part of this weekend. We’d rather you focus on pass completions and sacks!

Make the right play on Super Bowl weekend: Don’t drive drunk, and don’t let others drive drunk.

OK, full disclosure: We don’t have any special juju we can offer your favorite sports team to take home the trophy. But if you’re planning on attending or hosting a Super Bowl party this Sunday, we do have a few suggestions to make sure your team — your friends and family glued to the big screen with you — win … at life.

Take these 3 smart moves and add them to your playbook for a safe Super Bowl:

  1. Before Sunday, make a plan that includes a sober ride home. Consider using a ride share app to get where you’re going to begin with — that way there’s not even an option for a stupid, drunken choice later.
  2. Pace yourself if you’re drinking during the game. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water or soda. Be sure not to forget the food — chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, pretzels — whatever your spread selection may be. And when the third quarter ends, end your drinking. They’ll be doing it at Levi Stadium, you can do it, too!
  3. Remember, this is a team sport. If you see someone about to drive impaired, don’t be afraid to throw the flag or intercept those car keys! Help find them a safe way home.

DMV Creates Super Bowl 50 License Plates for NFL

Super Bowl 50 Plate Proof

To commemorate 50 years of Super Bowl history, DMV has produced 450 special edition license plates exclusively for this year’s big event. The decorative black, silver and gold plates were created in partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee and sent to the NFL last week. They’ll be temporarily affixed to a fleet of Hyundai vehicles being used in association with the event.

The plates were made by the Prison Industry Authority at Folsom Prison, using new materials provided by 3M that make the plates more visible and less vulnerable to counterfeit.

Super Bowl plates in boxes

Special edition Super Bowl 50 plates arrive at California DMV Headquarters earlier this month.

Whether you’re planning a trip to Super Bowl City or taking in the festivities from a flatscreen, be sure to get an eyeful while you can! The plates will only be in use until February 12, 2016.

DMV Receives New Data on Self-Driving Cars

Are you curious about the latest information on self-driving cars? You’ve come to the right place!

DMV received the first set of disengagement reports earlier this month, a required part of testing regulations. “Disengagement” refers to any instance when a vehicle switched its mode of operation from computer to driver. The vehicle shift from autopilot, either due to a technological failure or as a safety measure, allows the human occupant to drive, just like the automobiles we all know on our roadways today.

Seven manufacturers of autonomous vehicles—Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Google, Delphi, Tesla, Bosch and Nissan—submitted the annual reports, spanning the period of initial testing permit issuance through November 30, 2015. Cruise Automation, BMW, Honda and Ford—who received their permits later than the original seven—will submit their first disengagement reports next year.

DMV will hold two public workshops designed to gather input from industry, consumer and public interest groups, and the public, on the public use of self-driving cars.  For more information on locations and times of the workshops, click here.


Laws, They Are a-Changin’

New year, new laws, new you!

New year, new laws, new you!

Did you know you can’t wear earbuds in both ears when driving? But you can drink an adult beverage while riding in a pedicab if your local government allows it? And those hoverboards that your nephew, your neighbor and Mike Tyson all seem to suddenly have? You’re required to wear a helmet whenever you take one for a spin. Those are just a few of the new transportation-related laws now in effect that may change the way you move about your day.

Each year, January 1 brings new laws or changes to existing laws on the books—and it’s up to you to stay informed. But we’re here to help! The DMV Newsroom breaks down the basics on these new rules and regulations for you. Read up and ride smart!

Resolutions for the Road


By now, you’ve probably got all your resolutions figured out for the new year—you may have even already abandoned one or two as hopeless aspirations (chocolate is good for you anyway!).

But hang on a sec. The DMV’s got a few more for you to add, and we promise, these won’t be as hard to keep!

1. Always use your seat belt.

You can’t control what other drivers might be doing out on the road, but you can control your ability to stay as safe as possible. A seat belt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in case of an accident, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In a particularly violent collision, a seat belt can stop you from being thrown from your vehicle—an almost always deadly circumstance. It is your first and best defense against bad drivers, drunk drivers and distracted drivers.

Buckle up, every time. Most crashes happen close to home, so don’t skip it on a short trip to the corner store. And don’t move an inch until everyone else in your car is strapped in, too!

New Year's resolution listing

Resolutions to keep in the new year: Buckle up, drive sober, and don’t text and drive.

2. Drive sober.

You may think you’re OK after one or two, but the impairment on your driving abilities starts well before you notice them yourself. After just two drinks, there’s a decline in your visual coordination. It’s only downhill from there.

With the myriad of options for getting around these days—plus the $10,000 price tag for the average DUI—why would you ever chance it?

It’s always best to plan ahead. If you know you’ll be attending a function with alcohol, do your best to figure out in advance how you’ll be getting home. If it’s a more impromptu imbibing, make sure someone there refrains from drinking in order to drive.

Or call a cab. Or use a ride-sharing service. Is your place far? Remember that other resolution to lose weight? It’s a lovely night for a walk (but make sure a sober friend walks with you!).

See? Plenty of options. Plenty of ways to avoid a stupid decision and make a smart one.

3. Never, ever, EVER text while driving. 

man typing text message while sitting in the car

You have ONE job. And texting isn’t it.

Wherever you are right now, look around you. How many people do you see glued to their phones? In a world that praises multitasking and instant access, we’ve developed a bad habit.

Now, put that habit behind the wheel? It’s not only bad, it’s deadly.

Each year, texting while driving is responsible for approximately 330,000 injuries.

And yet a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, according to a study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Even worse, a staggering 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

In fact, phones in general, eating, drinking, grooming, using a navigation system, or any other distraction that keeps you from focusing on the task act hand—ahem, driving your car—can pose a risk to you, your passengers, and others sharing the road with you.  Take the pledge at Distraction.gov to drive phone-free, and encourage other friends and family members to do the same.

Add these three road resolutions to your list for a safe and street-smart 2016!