Regardless of age, a person must have in their immediate possession a driver license or Instruction permit of the appropriate class to operate a motor vehicle.
- Licensed Drivers: 25,914,851
- Licensed Teen Drivers (16-19 year olds): 862,589
- Vehicles Registered: 33,768,367
- Motorcycles Registered: 884,665
- Special Interest Plates: 454,072
- Registered Off Highway Vehicles: 792,645
- Disabled Placards: 2,569,340
- Hybrid/Electric Vehicles Registered
- Hybrid Vehicles: 958,490
- Electric Vehicles: 111,256
- Online Transactions (2015): 15,624,866
- Licensed Auto Dealers in California
- Used Vehicle Dealers: 7,118
- New Vehicle Dealers: 1,491
It is against the law to loan your vehicle to a person who is unlicensed or whose driving privilege has been suspended. If an unlicensed person is caught driving your vehicle, it may be impounded for 30 days (CVC §14607.6).
No person of any age may drive on a highway or in a public parking facility unless he or she has a valid DL or permit. The law also states that you must not employ, permit, or authorize any person to drive your vehicle on a public street or highway, unless he or she is licensed to drive that class of vehicle.
A person must be at least 21 years old to drive most commercial vehicles for hire in interstate commerce and to transport hazardous materials or wastes.
The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to: The California Driver Handbook, cheat sheets, and/or electronic communication devices such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc. . If any testing aid is used during the knowledge test, the knowledge test will be marked as a “failure.” An action may also be taken by DMV against your driving privilege or the driving privilege of anyone else who assists you in the examination process.
Increased Accident Reportability Threshold
The minimum damage threshold for collision reportability has increased from $750 to $1,000. A driver of a motor vehicle involved in a collision with property damages greater than $1,000 must submit a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) to DMV. DMV is authorized to impose sanctions following an uninsured reportable collision (CVC §§1656.2, 1808, 1808.1, 12517.1, 13369, 13558, 16000, 16000.1, 16020.1, 16020.2, 16075, 16251, 16430, & 16434).
Child Safety Seat Requirements
In addition to the existing child passenger restraint system laws, any child who is under 2 years old must be secured in a rear-facing child passenger restraint system unless the child is 40 pounds or more, or 3’3” or taller (CVC §27360).
When you apply for an original California DL card, you must present acceptable document(s) establishing your identity, residency (if applicable), birthdate, and provide your social security number (SSN), if eligible. The document(s) provided:
- Must be a certified copy, or an original document.
- May contain an impressed seal or original stamped impression.
- Must not be a photocopy.
- Must not present self-laminated cards or documents.
If you present a legal presence document, your DL/ID card may expire on the same date as your legal presence document. If the name on your document is different from the name on your DL/ID card application, you must also bring an acceptable true full name document. Your fingerprint, signature, and photograph will also be taken (refer to the “Application Requirements for a Basic Class C Driver License” section on page 3). For any other DL/ID card transaction, you must present photo identification.
Examples of acceptable documents include: U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, U.S. Armed Forces ID Cards, Certificate of Naturalization, Permanent Resident Card, or a foreign passport with a valid I-94. The I-94 expiration date must be more than two (2) months from the DL/ID card application date.
Examples of true full name verification documents include: adoption documents containing your legal name as a result of the adoption, name change documents containing your legal name both before and after, a marriage certificate, a certificate or registration document verifying the formation of a domestic partnership, or a dissolution of marriage document containing your legal name as a result of the court order.
A complete list of accepted documents is available online at www.dmv.ca.gov or in the Document Required to apply for a Driver License (FFDL 05A) Fast Facts brochure.
Visitors over 18 years old with a valid driver license from their home state or country may drive in California without getting a California driver license as long as their home state driver license is valid.
Vehicles proceeding at a speed less than the flow of traffic and moving on a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe, must turn off the roadway at the nearest place designated as a turnout or wherever sufficient area for a safe turnout exists if a line of 5 or more vehicles forms behind them
When you become a California resident and you want to drive in California, you must apply for a California driver license within 10 days. Residency is established in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Being registered to vote in California elections.
- Paying resident tuition at a California college or university.
- Filing for a home owner’s property tax exemption.
- Receiving any other privilege or benefit not ordinarily extended to nonresidents.
Bicycles operated during darkness upon a highway or a sidewalk must be equipped with a red reflector or a solid or flashing red light with a built-in reflector on the rear (California Vehicle Code [CVC] §21201).